|From left, People Power Party Rep. Lim Lee-ja, North Gyeongsang Province Governor Lee Chul-woo, SK Materials CEO Lee Young-wook and Sangju Mayor Kang Young-seok and city government official pose after signing MOU, Tuesday, to construct a silicon cathode plant in the region. Courtesy of SK Materials|
By Kim Hyun-bin
SK Materials will spend 850 billion won to build a silicon cathode production plant, seeking to take the lead in the secondary battery materials market.
A joint venture company established by SK Materials and Group14 Technologies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with North Gyeongsang Province and Sangju city to construct the silicon cathode and raw materials production plant, Tuesday.
"The joint venture and SK Materials will continue to invest and make technological developments not only in the silicon cathode sector, but expand into diverse battery materials industries to enhance the status of Korean battery materials in the global market," SK Materials CEO Lee Young-wook said.
Silicon cathodes, touted as the next-generation battery material, are mostly used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries and provide a longer travel range, while reducing charging time compared to graphite cathodes. Silicon cathodes are light and small, making them suitable for mobile devices and drones.
According to market research firm SNE Research, demand for silicon cathodes is expected to grow by 70 percent annually on average through 2025 and exceed 200,000 tons by 2030 with the rise in demand for EVs.
The joint venture's total assets are worth 77.2 billion won, with SK Materials owning a 75 percent stake and Group14 Technologies possessing the remaining 25 percent stake.
Group14 Technologies holds patents for silicon cathode-related technologies, with its headquarters located in Seattle. The joint venture will build its silicon cathode battery materials production plant in Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province.
The construction of the first plant is scheduled to begin in October with a total investment of 550 billion won. SK Materials plans to invest an additional 300 billion won to construct a silane production plant. Silane is a key material used in the manufacture of silicon cathodes.