Ultium Cells, the battery joint venture between LG Energy Solution and General Motors, has signed a deal worth US$258 million with Chinese company Semcorp to procure battery separators, TheElec has learned.
When the supply will start isn’t yet known nor the kind of separator that will be supplied.
LG Energy Solution had previously received bare films that aren’t coated from Chinese companies.
It coated the films themselves or used Toray to do so. If Semcorp is supplying coated wet separators, LG will be fully relying in the Chinese company for the core technology. Coating is important for separator films as it is done to reinforce safety of them.
If Semcorp is providing bare films, LG Energy Solution will likely build a factory for coating close to its battery factory. LG’s battery factories in Poland and China have coating factories nearby.
Ultium Cells is building two factories in the US. Semcorp can use the opportunity to expand there through the deal.
Semcorp became the world’s largest separator manufacturer in 2019, overtaking Asahi Kasei of Japan.
Separator accounts for 20% of costs in a battery. It is placed between the cathode and anode. Small holes on them allows lithium-ion to travel back and forth between the cathode and anode to produce electricity.