SK IE Technology
SK Innovation and SK IE Technology make joint equity investment in Airrane, a company with proprietary carbon capturing separator technology
2023.05.08 | SKinno News

■ SK Innovation and SKIET jointly invest in gas separator technology specialist Airrane

■ To advance R&D in carbon capturing performance by combining SK’s “separator manufacturing technology” and Airrane’s “gas separation technology”

■ SK Innovation subsidiaries make entry into “capture,” the core area of the CCUS, which is expected to have high growth potential


SK Innovation and SKIET invest in Airrane, a company specializing in gas separator technology. This is to strengthen their carbon reduction competitiveness by utilizing SKIET’s world-class technology in the Lithium-ion Battery Separator (LiBS) area for “Capture,” the core of the CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage).


Airrane is a company specializing in gas separator, and it provides separator module/system design and production, and technical services by utilizing its technological prowess in separator production. Starting from the National Research Lab (NRL), Airrane has built up its technological capabilities through joint development and OEM production in partnership with advanced foreign companies, such as Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Asahi Glass Company (AGC) Engineering CO., and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. in its early business stage. The company is currently recognized for possessing globally competitive commercial technologies in the entire process of gas separator production, from material design to procurement, separator/module production, and system design/manufacturing/operation/management. In the carbon capture field, the company is working on expanding its business to supply CO2 separator technology, which is needed for producing clean hydrogen based on biogas and supplying it to not only the petrochemical and cement industries, but also hydrogen charging stations or fuel cell power generation.


SK Innovation and SKIET plan to pioneer the separator capture market by combining their LiBS manufacturing technology with Airrane’s gas separator technology. To do this, the two companies have decided to develop new high-performance separator with high efficiency to preempt the market and cooperate in advancing the separator technology that Airrane currently possesses. They plan to seek ways to make entry into overseas markets, such as the North American and European markets, by securing competitive separator technology required for carbon capture.


Carbon capture utilizing separator is considered an alternative that overcomes the limitations of existing wet and dry methods. The widely used wet method uses liquid absorbents to separate CO2. Even though this method has the advantage of being able to reduce capture costs by increasing the scale, it faces challenges that it requires a large plot of land, a significant amount of energy to regenerate the absorbents, and produces harmful environmental substances when the absorbents are decomposed. In terms of the dry method, as it captures CO2 using solid absorbents with less energy consumption than the wet method, it can save costs and downsize equipment, but it has not been commercialized due to the fact that the absorbents are susceptible to wear and agglomeration. The separator method, which captures CO2 by selectively allowing it to pass through the separator, does not generate any waste or wastewater without using any chemical substances or water other than the separator and it is an optimal method for factories having complex equipment and pipes as it can be installed in a small area in the form of separator module form.


As the importance of CCUS for carbon neutrality is emphasized, the carbon capture market is expected to grow. It is due to the fact that it is impossible to completely block carbon emissions while it is also necessary to reduce the remaining carbon left in the atmosphere. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry anticipates a cumulative market size of JPY 45 trillion for the CCUS-related equipment market by 2050 and an annual economic ripple effect of JPY 10 trillion due to the global investment expansion in CCUS. In the global CCUS industry, about 60% of the economic effects are expected to be generated in the capture sector alone.


Head of SK Innovation Portfolio Divisional Group Kang Dong-soo said, “We expect that our collaboration with Airrane will further strengthen our competitiveness in the CCUS area, which is essential for our ‘Carbon to Green’ strategy.” He added, “We will strive to bolster our competitiveness in the global CCUS market based on not only the separator capture technology jointly invested by SK Innovation and SK IE Technology, but also the capabilities of SK Innovation subsidiaries, such as SK Energy’s utilization technology and SK Earthon’s storage technology.”




(Photo 1) Head of SK Innovation Portfolio Divisional Group Kang Dong-soo, President of Airrane Ha Seong-young, and Head of Biz Model Innovation Office Lee Byung-in are signing investment contracts.



(Photo 2) After signing ceremony for the investment contract, Head of SK Innovation Portfolio Divisional Group Kang Dong-soo, President of Airrane Ha Seong-young, and Head of Biz Model Innovation Office Lee Byung-in hold the signed contracts and take commemorative photo.




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