POSCO Future M Co., a subsidiary of South Korean steelmaker POSCO Group specializing in battery materials, began the construction of its high-nickel cathode material facilities on the south coast of Korea.

POSCO FUTURE M President Kim Jun-hyung and Samsung SDI Co. Vice President Kim Ik-hyeon attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) cathode material production facilities took place in Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province, on Thursday.

With an investment of 683.4 billion won ($514.2 million), the Gwangyang facilities will have an annual production capacity of 52,500 tons of cathode materials, enough for 580,000 electric vehicles to be equipped with batteries.

The cathode materials produced at the Gwangyang facilities will be supplied to Samsung under a 40 trillion won deal signed between POSCO Future M and Samsung SDI for the supply of NCA cathode materials over a 10-year period.

POSCO Future M commenced NCA cathode material production at its existing Gwangyang facilities in April 2023. With the anticipated completion of the Gwangyang facilities by April 2025, the company projects an annual production capacity of 82,500 tons of NCA cathode materials across its Korean facilities, including the one in Pohang, which began construction in April 2023.

The battery material company aims to expand its customer base beyond major clients such as LG Energy Solution Ltd. and Ultium Cells LLC, while seeking to diversify its cathode material portfolio, with a focus on nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) formulations.

POSCO Future M plans to ramp up production of high-value-added single-crystal NCA cathode materials at its Pohang and Gwangyang facilities particularly. These single-crystal cathodes are renowned for enhancing battery thermal stability and lifespan by tightly integrating raw materials into a singular particle structure, in contrast to conventional cathode materials.

POSCO Future M is boldly pushing forward with investments. “Considering that the secondary battery market is currently at a low point, I believe it is a timely and appropriate investment,” POSCO Future M’s president said, while also highlighting projections of an uptick in the battery market among its clients.

The company‘s facility investment scale for this year is expected to “far exceed 1 trillion won,” according to POSCO Future M Chief Financial Officer Yoon Deok-il. POSCO Future M has been engaged in the construction of cathode material facilities in Quebec, Canada, via a joint venture with General Motors Co. since 2022.

The company is also exploring investment options to decrease reliance on Chinese graphite, a vital component in anode materials. ”Taking into account the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), we’re evaluating options to secure natural graphite from Madagascar and other African regions,“ Vice President Kim said.

But Kim remained cautious about the production of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cathode materials. ”LFP batteries have low raw material and processing costs, leaving little room for cathode material companies to enhance profitability,“ he said.

NCA cathode materials are known for their high energy density and power output, which makes them suitable for high-performance EVs.

source from internet

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