Battery giant LG Chem has broken ground on a 60,000 tons per year lithium-ion battery cathode manufacturing plant in South Korea.
The plant will exclusively make cathode materials for the battery market by 2025 on a site spanning more than 60,000㎡ at the Gumi National Industrial Complex 5 in Gumi.
LG Chem plans to expand its combined production capacity from 80,000 tons to 260,000 tons by 2026.
LG is investing around 500 billion KRW ($419 million) by 2025 to build the plant, which will produce enough cathode material to supply about 500,000 high-performance (500km range) electric vehicles every year.
Cathode materials account for about 40% of battery production costs as one of the four major battery materials together with anodes, separators, and electrolytes; and determine the key performance of batteries such as capacity and life.
The Gumi Plant will include an exclusive line for NCMA (Nickel, Cobalt, Manganese, Aluminum) cathode materials that will be used for the next-generation EV batteries that LG Chemical is focusing on.
NCMA cathode materials have outstanding stability and output by applying aluminum to reinforce stability and by expanding nickel content- which determines energy density- to around 90%.
The company is developing cobalt-free technologies, as well as single crystal cathodes for next-generation solid-state batteries.