Korean materials firm SK IE Innovation has held an opening ceremony for its lithium-ion battery separator plant in Poland, the company’s first European production base.
The company, the material business subsidiary of SK Innovation, held the ceremony to mark the start of commercial production after 21 months of construction, which saw mechanical completion in June and test operation in August.
The plant will have an annual production capacity of 340 million/m2.
CEO and president of SK IE Technology, Rho Jae-sok, said: “The operation of the first European plant has positioned the company as the first battery separator producer in Europe. We will take a significant part in revitalizing the global electric vehicle market.”
The company’s first plant in Poland is expected to kick off commercial operation in the fourth quarter of this year.
The products will be supplied to global battery companies such as SK On.
SK IE Technology (SKIET) plans to invest a total of KRW2 trillion ($16.7 million) in Silesia Province by 2024 to ensure production capacity of 1,540 million/m2 of lithium-ion battery separators.
A second plant with a 340 million/m2 production capacity is under construction and is scheduled to be ready for commercial operation by 2023.
Last July ground was broken on third and fourth plants with respective 430 million/m2 capacity.
It is anticipated that the global production capacity of SKIET encompassing South Korea, China, and Europe will reach a total of 2,730 million/m2.
According to research agency IHS Market, the European battery industry will be expanded by five times from 82GWh this year to about 410GWh in 2026. The demand for separators will likely follow suit.