Samsung SDI and a South Korean cathode materials manufacturer EcoPro BM have decided to build their second cathode materials production plant for electric vehicle (EV) batteries. They have made a decision to increase their high-nickel cathode materials production capacity in order to deal with sudden increase in demands for EV batteries.
According to the industry on Wednesday, their joint venture EcoPro EM will start building second cathode materials production plant in Pohang this second half. The plant, which is expected to be completed in 2023, will make next-generation high-nickel cathode materials. The plant’s annual production capacity is expected to be around 30,000 tons and it will raise the total production capacity of NCA (nickel, cobalt, and aluminum) cathode materials to more than 60,000 tons once the production capacity of the first cathode materials production plant in Pohang (31,000 tons) is added.
Samsung SDI established the joint venture with EcoPro BM last year after witnessing potential growth of the EV battery market. NCA cathode materials made from the two plants are expected to be used for EV batteries as well as ESS (energy storage system).
Initially, Samsung SDI had been receiving cathode materials for ESS only from a plant in Ochang. However, it decided to build cathode materials production plants in Pohang due to increased demands for medium and large-sized lithium batteries for ESS and EVs.

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<Samsung SDI and EcoPro BM held a groundbreaking ceremony of their joint venture EcoPro EM last year with personnel such as President Jeon Young-hyun of Samsung SDI, Chairman Lee Dong-chae of EcoPro, and President Choi Moon-ho of EcoPro EM in attendance.>

Cathode material is a key material that determines a battery’s performance. Because it is responsible for 30% of battery production cost, battery manufacturers around the world are seeking various ways to secure competitive edge in production cost.
Samsung SDI has also been strengthening its investment in order to internalize battery materials particularly NCA cathode materials that have nickel content between 50 and 60%. By internalizing such cathode materials, it plans to secure a stable supply chain of cathode materials and lower its battery production cost as well.
The company is also working on internalizing anode materials. Silicon-based anode materials supplement battery performance and they can also make battery charging speed faster. Samsung SDI is currently strengthening its anode material supply chain through ompanies such as Hansol Chemical and Daejoo Electronic Materials.
A representative from the industry said that Samsung SDI will make more investments in production of EV battery materials in the future.
Staff Reporter Kim, Jiwoong |