California-based firm Bloom Energy has signed a deal with a South Korean group for distributing its solid oxide fuel cell systems in that nation.

SK Engineering and Construction will become a distributor of Bloom Energy Service solid oxide fuel-cell systems. South Korea bills itself as a leader in utility-scale fuel-cell power generation, with some 300 MW deployed and twice that much planned by 2022.

That nation is reaching for alternatives as it has no domestic natural gas resources and is already a big importer of liquid natural gas. It also burns coal for a large part of its power generation.

Bloom Energy builds and delivers relatively small boxes that operate under a single core platform to produce what the company calls “clean” and “always on” electric power with low carbon emissions and air pollutants. The company was formed in the early part of the 21st century and has had customers such as Google and utility Southern Co.

According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, the Bloom Energy boxes soak up oxygen on one side and fuel on the other, mixing them through the cells to create a chemical reaction that produces electricity. The fuel can be natural gas or renewables such as bio-gas or solar. The process reportedly does not produce an air emission.

One of Bloom Energy’s board members is former US Secretary of State and Army General Colin Powell. In a statement he championed the deal in South Korea.

“Together, Bloom Energy and SK form a powerful team, bringing the best of Korean and American Innovation together to deliver a powerful new approach to meeting the energy needs of Korea, and one that will benefit its environment, economy and society for generations to come,” Powell said.

FEATURE: South Korea flies flag for fuel cells