Battery cathode maker EcoPro BM is in talks to supply high-nickel cathode to SK Innovation, TheElec has learned.
EcoPro BM will be supplying NCM9½½ (nickel, cobalt and manganese in 9 to 0.5 to 0.5 ratio) cathode.
The contract will likely be worth 4 trillion won for four years of supply, people familiar with the matter said. The contract will be signed within the year at the earliest and within the year at the latest, they said.
This means it will be bigger than the 2.74 trillion won contract to supply cathode the pair signed in January.
SK Innovation currently has 130 trillion won worth of remaining orders for its batteries. The company is planning to manufacture 85GWh of batteries in 2023, 200GWh in 2025 and 500GWh in 2030.
It will need to procure cathodes proportionate to its increased production volume.
EcoPro BM uses the second line at its CAM5 plant in Pohang for supplies to SK Innovation. The plant, combined with the first line, can manufacture 20,000 metric tonnes of NMC cathode a year.
The remaining third line is used to manufacture NCA(aluminum instead of manganese) cathode for Samsung SDI.
EcoPro BM will also install equipment by the first half of next year for its CAM5-N plant. The plant is thought to be wholly dedicated to supply cathode to SK Innovation. It will go live in the first quarter of 2023. It can manufacture 28,800 metric tonnes of high-nickel cathode a year.
In total, EcoPro BM will be supplying 48,800 metric tonnes of cathode a year using CAM5 and CAM5-N to SK Innovation. This is enough for over 400,000 units of electric vehicles with over 400km traveling distance per charge.
Cathodes of L&F, which also supplies cathode to SK Innovation, is being planned to be used for energy storage systems, the people said. EcoPro BM’s will be strictly for electric cars.
In the long run, EcoPro BM’s cathode supply could be lowered to around 40% of what SK Innovation uses as the conglomerate is aiming to procure its own cathode, they said. However, as total battery production volume goes up, the cathode it supplies will still be higher than now, they added.