Anode material maker EcoPro will collaborate with Chinese company GEM in battery recycling, the company said.
The South Korean company will invest 12 billion won by 2021 to build the recycling factory at Pohang.
EcoPro will increase synergy with its subsidiaries EcoPro BM, EcoPro EM, EcoPro GEM, EcoPro Innovation and EcoPro AP through the factory, people familiar with the matter said.
EcoPro’s subsidiary EcoPro CnG will use GEM’s subsidiary Jingmen GEM’s technology for the recycling factory.
GEM will own some stake on EcoPro CnG under the two’s agreement.
Jingmen GEM will provide EcoPro CnG with its material extraction technology __ it will secure black powder from used batteries.
The powder will be supplied to EcoPro Innovation and EcoPro GEM which will mix it with sulfur to remake precursors for anode materials with them. The final anode material will be made by EcoPro BM.
The recycling process will save costs. EcoPro will also invest in converting cheap lithium carbonate to lithium hydroxide, a company spokesperson said.
Lithium hydroxide is used in anode materials for high nickel batteries such as NCM811 (nickel, cobalt and manganese in 8 to 1 to 1 ratio) and NCMA (aluminum is added).
EcoPro previously imported lithium carbonate from China but will localize its supply through the new factory.
The South Korean company is also co-developing battery materials with Australian mining firm Blackstone Minerals. They will secure nickel and cobalt.
Precursors will be made by EcoPro GEM, lithium hydroxide by EcoPro Innovation and special gases used in anode material production by EcoPro AP, the people said, and EcoPro will build the battery cluster to group these processes together.