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Korea’s Lotte Chemical to Expand EV Battery Materials Output

The company said it would accelerate production of ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC) and diethyl carbonate (DEC) – two types of electrolyte solvents

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A rechargeable lithium ion battery made for Volkswagen. Photo: Reuters


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.”


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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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