SK IE Technology Co., (SK IET), battery materials maker under South Korea’s No. 3 rechargeable power supplier SK Innovation Co. is implementing near $1 billion capex to add two additional EV-focused battery separator plants in Poland to boast unrivaled economies of scale before it goes public later this year.
SK Innovation said on Sunday that it is investing total 1.13 trillion won ($999.3 million) to build third and fourth battery separator plants in existing complex in Silesia, Poland.
A separator, core to lithium-ion battery responsible for safety and performance, accounts for up to 20 percent of cost of battery powering EVs.
Battery industry estimates that last year’s 4 billion square meter separator market will quadruple to 16 billion square meters in 2025, with supply running short versus demand from 2023.
SK IET plans to begin construction of its additional facilities in Poland in the third quarter with an aim to launch mass production by the end of 2023. Each of the two facilities is expected to have annual production capacity of 430 million square meters – 860 million square meters in total.
Combined with the two lines under construction with capacity of 680 million, SK IET’s full output from Polish base will surge to 1.54 billion square meters by 2024, enough separators to fit into 1.54 million big capacity electric vehicles.
The No. 1 line goes into mass production in the fourth quarter of this year and No. 2 line in the first quarter of 2023.
SK IET currently operates a lithium-ion battery separator plant in Jeungpyeong, North Chungcheong Province in Korea, and in Changzhou, China, with combined output capacity of 860 million square meters. By 2024 when all four factories in Poland are in activity, the company’s total capacity would come to 2.74 billion square meters.