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<Young-min Choi, Head of LG Chem's Battery Materials Development Center, is giving a presentation on LG Chem's battery material technology vision.>

LG Chem unveiled a blueprint to leap forward as a comprehensive battery materials manufacturer by expanding its battery material portfolio, including cathode materials and separators. Young-minChoi, Head of LG Chem's Battery Materials Center, introduced LG Chem’s EV separator business plan at the 'Global Tech Korea 2021' theme presentation on the 9th.

The emergence of the electric vehicle market as the largest demander for batteries has required long-distance driving, safety enhancement, and manufacturing price reduction. “The size of global lithium-ion battery market is expected to grow 19 times from 184GWh in 2018 to 3600GWh in 2030, and among them, the batteries for electric vehicles will account for nearly 90%,” said Choi.

LG Chem is preparing a wet separator material that will enhance the safety of EV batteries. Wet separators are most often applied to nickel, cobalt, and manganese (NCM) batteries for EVs and are drawing attention as a key material to improve thermal stability caused by increased nickel content. As a separator material, reinforced separator that can withstand 200 degrees ultra-high temperature is presently LG Chem’s focus. As a material for the existing separator, a separator that can withstand a high temperature of 180 degrees was mainly used. The separator to be developed by LG Chem will use a composite material as a coating material.

The separation membrane is weak and can be deformed by heat, with less safety enhancing function as the separator may contract at a temperature of 100 degrees or higher. In addition to alumina, LG Chem will enhance safety by strengthening additional materials and ceramic coatings to prevent mechanical shrinkage of the separator. “We have been receiving requests from global automakers to supplement the safety of separators,” said Choi, the Head of the center. He also announced plans to expand the cathode material business. LG Chem is pursuing the construction of a new plant with an annual capacity of 30,000 tons in Cheongju, while in Gumi, it plans to start construction of a plant with an annual capacity of 60,000 tons within this year.

LG Chem will expand its cathode material production capacity from 40,000 tons last year to 80,000 tons this year, expanding the scale to 260,000 tons by 2026. Its goal is to more than double the sales of advanced materials by expanding the portfolio of new products such as battery anode material binders and electrolyte additives. LG Chem’s sale in advanced materials business recorded 2.6 trillion won last year. This year, it aims to reach the level of high 4 trillion won.

Young-min Choi, Head of LG Chem's center, said, "We have LG Energy Solutions, the world's largest battery maker, as a subsidiary. Accordingly, we will respond efficiently to finished vehicle customers by strengthening technology development and investment in response to the global transition to electric motor cars.” He also said that LG Chem is promoting technology development to complete the development of single-crystal cathode materials to be in time for the commercialization of all-solid-state batteries. All-solid-state batteries consist of sulfide-based, oxide-based, and polymer-based batteries. Without limiting to one type of battery, LG Chem will build a product portfolio for application to various next-generation batteries. 
By Staff Reporter Ja-won Kim