South Korean companies that specialize in batteries are drawing attention as they have joined forces to develop LFP (lithium iron phosphate) for electric vehicles (EV). LFP battery is seen as a battery that is cost-effective and very safe. However, only very few companies South Korea currently manufacture such battery, and the battery has been only utilized for special purposes. But the level of interest towards the battery has grown as cost reduction has emerged as an important topic for companies related to EV and EV battery.
According to the industry on Monday, Energy Materials along with Enertech International have begun to work on development of LFP batteries for EVs. Energy Materials will be in charge of LFP cathode material while Enertech International will work on the finished product based on LFP cathode materials made by Energy Materials.
Enertech International is a company that specializes in lithium-ion batteries and has a 240 MWh EV battery production plant in Chungju. It supplies its batteries for EVs and electric buses in Russia and it drew attention from the industry after being acquired by a Russian state atomic energy corporation called Rosatom.
Energy Materials is the only LFP cathode material manufacturer in South Korea. Cathode material is one of the four key materials of a rechargeable battery and it is responsible for the highest percentage of production cost of batteries. The company currently has a LFP cathode material production plant that can manufacture tens of cathode materials annually in Gwangju and is a business partner with Aisan Industry, Kyocera, and Musashi Energy Solution from Japan.
The reason why the cooperation between Energy Materials and Enertech is drawing so much attention is because they are pushing for commercialization of LFP batteries which will be used for EVs.
Although LFP batteries are relatively inexpensive and highly safe, they tend to lack energy density. As a result, South Korean battery makers have been focusing on development of NCM (nickel, cobalt, manganese) rechargeable batteries.
LFP batteries have mostly been manufactured by Chinese battery makers. However, LFP batteries have started to draw attention recently as they are considered the perfect batteries that will help popularization of EVs by lowering battery cost.
Also, in case of LFMP batteries that add manganese to LFP batteries, it is reported that they are able to maintain the same level of safety and strengthen battery performance at the same time at a low cost.
While it may still take a while before Energy Materials and Enertech to commercialize appropriate LFP batteries, there are high expectations on these companies as one company is the only LFP cathode material manufacturer in South Korea while the other has a history of supplying batteries for EVs and electric buses.
A representative from Energy Materials said that the company is pushing for development of cathode materials that supplement performance-related issues while maintaining low cost and high level of safety and that they company plans to gradually expand application of LFP cathode materials towards EVs and ESS (energy storage system).
Staff Reporter Kim, Jiwoong | email@example.com