|The logo of POSCO's electric vehicle material brand, e Autopos / Courtesy of POSCO|
Chemical unit bplsters battery cathode plant
By Nam Hyun-woo
POSCO is expanding its business portfolio for the supply chain of electric vehicles (EVs) and other eco-friendly mobility services, launching a new brand for specialty products and bolstering its battery cathode plant.
The steelmaker said Tuesday that it launched a new brand called "e Autopos" last month for steel products and other materials used to build EVs. This new brand is the second specialty product brand the steelmaker has launched following its premium construction materials brand, "INNOVILT" in 2019.
Products under the e Autopos brand include high-tensile steel plates for vehicle chassis, rolled steel for battery packs, energy-efficient plates for motors, separator plates for fuel cell EVs and anode/cathode materials for batteries.
Among them, "Poss470FC" is the world's first stainless steel product used to make separators for fuel-cell EVs. This product has been used in the Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell EV since 2018. POSCO expects Poss470FC to play a crucial role in lowering the manufacturing costs of fuel cell EVs and simplifying the assembly process.
Another product, called "Hyper NO," is a non-oriented electrical steel product used in high-efficiency motors for EVs to improve energy efficiency and overall driving performance. Non-oriented electrical steel has homogeneous magnetic properties in all directions and are used as core materials in rotating machines. When electrical energy is converted to rotational energy, core loss is accompanied. POSCO said Hyper NO has 30 percent less core loss compared to other electrical steel products.
|POSCO Chemical CEO Min Kyung-zoon, fourth from left, breaks ground during a ceremony to commemorate the Phase 4 expansion of the company's battery cathode plant in Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province, Tuesday. Courtesy of POSCO Chemical|
Along with steel products, POSCO Chemical is expanding its battery cathode plant in Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province.
The company on Tuesday held a ground breaking ceremony for the Phase 4 expansion of the plant. POSCO Chemical will invest 275.8 billion won into the plant and build manufacturing lines for high-nickel NCMA cathode materials comprised of nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum. The plan will start commercial production in 2023.
At the new lines, the company will produce cathodes for a number of client companies, including Ultium Cells, which is an EV joint venture between LG Energy Solution and General Motors.
When the Phase 4 expansion is completed, POSCO Chemical's cathode production capacity will grow to 100,000 tons per year, which is equivalent to 1.1 million 60 kilowatt-hour EVs.
POSCO completed a 10,000-ton cathode plant in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province in 2018 and has been expanding the Gwangyang plant since 2019. So far, the Gwangyang plant went through a Phase 2 expansion to have a 30,000-ton yearly capacity. The Phase 3 and Phase 4 expansions will add 30,000 tons, respectively.
POSCO Chemical said it plans to expand its capacity to 400,000 tons by 2030 to cope with rising global demand. The company expects global demand for cathode materials to grow to 2.04 million tons in 2030, up from 440,000 tons last year.