A South Korean battery materials manufacturer Enchem plans to build its second electrolyte production plant in Hungary and build recycling production facility as well. Also, other South Korean battery materials manufacturers such as Dongwha Electrolyte and EcoPro BM are strengthening their cooperation models with local companies in Europe. South Korean battery manufacturers are actively targeting local markets in Europe in order to meet the European Union’s plan to promote the battery industry in Europe.
According to the industry on Thursday, Enchem is currently preparing to build an electrolyte production plant in Komarom, Hungary. It is reported that the plant’s annual production capacity is expected to be 20,000 tons which is same as the company’s first European plant in Poland that supplies electrolytes to LG Energy Solution.
The Hungarian plant is expected to be in operating at the end of next year and supply electrolytes to SK Innovation’s plant in Hungary. Once Enchem’s second plant in in operation, Enchem’s electrolyte production capacity in Europe will increase from 20,000 tons to 40,000 tons. Enchem decided to build another electrolyte production plant in Europe in order to deal with increased battery production by LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation in Europe.
SK Innovation decided to invest $1.1 billion (1.27 trillion KRW) to build its third European battery production plant (30GWh) in Ivancsa, Hungary. Once the plant is constructed, SK Innovation’s production capacity in Europe will be increased to 47.3GWh with an addition of production capacities of its other two plants (7.5GWh and 9.8GWh) in Europe.
The European Union has been actively strengthening value chain of the battery supply chain in Europe. In order to have battery manufacturers to use recycled materials throughout their manufacturing process, the union announced a ‘new battery regulation proposal’. In accordance with the proposal, Enchem will build a NMP (N-Methylpyrrolidone) refinery along with the electrolyte production plant. NMP is a chemical that is used during lithium-ion battery electrode manufacturing process.

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<A bird’s-eye view of Enchem’s first European electrolyte plant in Hungary>

The NMP refinery collect used NMP from battery production plants and supply high-purity NMP that goes through purification process. Not only will the refinery contribute to protecting the environment, but it will also help battery manufacturers save on their production costs.
Dongwha Electrolyte will also start operating its electrolyte production plant in Hungary this July. The company started the construction since October last year in order to supply electrolytes to battery production plants of Samsung SDI and SK Innovation in Hungary. Its investment was made to establish a stable supply chain in Hungary and respond to demands immediately.
EcoPro BM set up a branch in Europe and is preparing to start construction of a cathode materials production plant. Hungary is the most likely place where the plant is going to be built. It is reported that the company will break ground next year at the latest and start supplying cathode materials to battery manufacturers in 2024. It is also pushing to build an ‘Eco battery campus’ in Europe that will produce lithium, which is a raw material of cathode materials used for electric vehicle batteries, as well as cathode materials. It plans to conduct tests on productivity of cathode materials in Pohang and start responding to demands from Samsung SDI and SK Innovation as well as new demands.
A representative from the industry said that the European Union is asking battery manufacturers to use recycled materials during battery manufacturing process while inducing them to establish battery supply chains in Europe and that South Korean battery and battery materials manufacturers are also strengthening their investments in recycling of resources in accordance with the union’s plan.
Staff Reporter Kim, Jiwoong | jw0316@etnews.com