SK On will invest 470 billion won ($352 million) in expanding its domestic research and development capabilities through 2025, the South Korean battery maker said Monday.
According to SK On, the company will upgrade its existing R&D foothold in Daejeon, also known as the Institute of Battery Technology, and newly establish a pilot plant for developing next-generation batteries and a global validation center at the same site.
Parts of the investment plan have already begun, as the battery maker is in the process of rebuilding some of its R&D facilities in Daejeon, expected to be complete in the second half of this year. SK On also broke ground for a pilot plant in December with a goal to finish the process by next year.
The pilot plant for next-generation batteries will include a laboratory equipped with special environment settings to develop materials for solid-state batteries. SK On said the company will aim to develop a solid-state battery product in the second half of 2024 and commercialize it in 2028.
“The expansion of R&D infrastructure will further strengthen SK On’s technological competitiveness,” said SK On CEO Ji Dong-seob.
SK On and Daejeon city officials earlier in the day signed a project partnership to revitalize the local economy. SK On said it expects the expansion to create over 400 new jobs.
The battery maker said the Daejeon site will be one of the two core pillars of technological advances in the future, along with the tentatively named Bucheon SK Green Techno Campus. In January, SK Group announced an investment totaling over 1 trillion won to set up an eco-friendly R&D complex in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province.