NQH2 Foundation Partner announces $50 million investment

Sun Metals, under their parent company - Korea Zinc - have invested $US50 million in a new partnership with energy storage developer, Energy Vault.

The partnership aims to deploy Energy Vault’s storage and energy management software technology to support renewable power supply and optimization to support their refining infrastructure. 

Korea Zinc's investment is the latest major company to back Swiss-based Energy Vault, following SoftBank Group Corp, Saudi Aramco and global miner BHP Group, ahead of a planned listing on the New York Stock Exchange this quarter through a special purpose acquisition company Novus Capital.

The announcement comes shortly after Ark Energy Corporation (another wholly owned Australian subsidiary of Korea Zinc) acquired 100% interest in a leading utility-scale wind and solar energy developer (Epuron) in Australia. The acquisition brings more than 9 GW of wind and solar projects with it and will play an important part in meeting or exceeding Sun Metals renewable power goals and supporting Ark Energy’s plans to become the most competitive producer of green hydrogen in the world; shifting to 100% renewable power by 2040 with an interim target of 80% renewable by 2030. 

The investment is a major win for North Queensland as it looks to secure a hydrogen economy for the region, bringing with it diverse job and export opportunities.

Townsville Enterprise Chief Executive Officer, Claudia Brumme-Smith said the investment was a positive step toward securing the region's hydrogen economy.

"Since formally becoming a designated NERA hydrogen cluster in late 2021, the region continues to move from strength to strength toward securing the nation's clean energy future," Ms Brumme-Smith said.

"While North Queensland is an emerging renewable hydrogen industry, the vision and capacity of our Foundation Partners - such as Ark Energy (Korea Zinc) gives confidence to deliver on our ambition to become the world’s most competitive exporter of green hydrogen."

"Clean hydrogen could directly support 16,000 jobs by 2050, plus an additional 13,000 jobs from the construction of related renewable energy infrastructure. Australian hydrogen production for export and domestic use could also generate more than $50 billion in additional GDP by 2050."

Sun Metals CEO Kiwon Park said the company looked forward to collaborating with Energy Vault in pursuit of our goal to become the first refinery in the world to produce green zinc made entirely from renewable energy.

“As the second largest consumer of electricity in Queensland (1 terawatt hours of consumption per annum), Sun Metals has a strong focus on being both environmentally responsible and the most competitive zinc refinery in the world.”

Korea Zinc Vice Chairman Yun B. Choi said “Energy Vault’s innovative storage technology and energy management software platform can play a key role in enabling and accelerating our decarbonization strategy as we enhance our ability to power our operations with renewable energy.”

Energy Vault CEO and Co-Founder Robert Piconi said the company is proud to partner with Korea Zinc and Sun Metals to broadly support their clean energy transition within their refining operations.

“Korea Zinc has demonstrated tremendous global leadership as a company in setting aggressive decarbonization targets and then investing significant capital to make sustainable, decarbonized energy a reality for their operations, and that certainly is the case here with their investment in Energy Vault,” Mr Piconi said.

To learn more about the North Queensland Hydrogen Consortium, visit https://www.nqhydrogen.com.au/ 

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