South Korea’s Lotte Chemical plans to spend an additional $108 million to expand a factory to produce four core electrolyte materials vital to the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).
The company said it would accelerate the production of ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC) and diethyl carbonate (DEC) – two types of electrolyte solvents – using its own technologies at its Daesan factory.
Electrolyte solvents are liquid solutions in a battery that helps lithium-ion move easily between anode and cathode. It is a key material that affects the performance and durability of the rechargeable batteries used in EVs.
Lotte said the materials had been “exclusive to a small number of global companies”, and this would be the first commercial production project in South Korea.
Battery-Grade Electrolyte Solvents
“We will strive to expand materials for lithium-ion batteries through active battery material technology development and business cooperation with affiliates within the group,” Lee Young-joon, head of Lotte Chemicals’ battery materials business unit, said.
Earlier this month, Lotte Chemical and Sasol Chemicals, a business unit of Sasol, agreed to conduct a pre-feasibility study of a joint project to build, own and operate a plant in the US to produce battery-grade electrolyte solvents.
The companies said they would assess the suitability of Sasol’s locations near Lake Charles in the US and Marl in Germany for a facility that could produce a variety of battery-grade electrolyte solvents.
The plants would use feedstock provided by Sasol and third parties and employ proprietary technologies of both Lotte and third-party licensors.
“The increase in battery demand is driving the rapid growth of demand for the key materials that constitute a lithium-ion battery,” Lee said.
“Lotte Chemical will lead the global battery materials market quantitatively and qualitatively by rapidly expanding our battery materials business.”
- George Russell