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Posco Future M to supply battery materials for LG-GM’s JV in US

Dec. 6, 2023 - 15:04 By Byun Hye-jin
Posco Future M staff celebrate the first shipment of high-nickel cathode materials to the US-based Ultium Cells at the Pohang plant, North Gyeongsang Province on Nov. 27. (Posco Future M)

Posco Future M said Wednesday its Pohang plant in North Gyeongsang Province had started the supply of high-nickel cathode materials to the US-based Ultium Cells, the joint venture of LG Energy Solution and General Motors.

Following its manufacturing plant in Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province, the Pohang site is the company’s second production base for high-nickel cathode materials.

With the fast-growing demand for the materials from battery makers, it has moved up the schedule for commercial production by two months and started the operation in early November, according to the company.

The product consists of 86 percent nickel which boasts high levels of energy density, powerful enough to be used as battery materials for high-performance electric vehicles.

It also adopts a single-crystal structure, which combines nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum into a crystal that has higher energy capacity and cycle life and shows more stable heat management than the materials composed of many small crystals.

The company said the Pohang plant celebrated the first shipment of cathode materials to Ultium Cells on Nov. 27.

More details, including the supply volume, were not disclosed immediately.

“We will continue to expand the single-crystal production line within our cathode manufacturing sites to supply battery materials that can maximize driving range, stability and cycle life,” said an official from Posco Future M. “The company also plans to develop materials with diverse crystal sizes that can offer a wide range of battery performance.”

With the latest production of high-nickel cathode materials, the Pohang plant’s annual capacity is expected to more than triple from the current 30,000 tons to 106,000 tons by 2026.

Under the goal to hit 1 million tons of production capacity by 2030, Posco Future M is ramping up its global expansion. It is building two joint cathode manufacturing plants with GM and Huayou Cobalt in Canada and China, respectively, to secure a combined 60,000 tons in the coming years.