Samsung SDI was considering procuring silicon anode preferably from MK Electron and Dongjin Semichem, TheElec has learned.
The silicon anode was previously supplied soley by China’s BTR.
South Korea’s Hansol Chemical has build a factory in South Korea for a potential supply deal with Samsung SDI, but could lose out against MK Electron or Dongjin Semichem if they are chosen instead.
Hansol had planned to spend 137.3 billion won in its factory up to 2023.
Samsung SDI is looking at the technology, production capacity and security capability of its potential suppliers, people familiar with the matter said.
The people said Hansol had met with multiple potential customers for its silicon anode. This information has bothered Samsung SDI greatly, they said. Samsung SDI has expressed to Hansol multiple times that it was not in favor of them meeting multiple potential customers.
Anode absorbs the lithium-ion from the cathode. It needs a stable structure to perform this function. Graphite, made out of carbon, was usually used for the anode. But graphite only has energy density of 372mAh per gram.
Six carbon atoms can contain one atom of lithium-ion. By comparison, five silicon atoms can contain 22 atoms of lithium-ion. The downside its that silicon is less durable than graphite. Pure silicon is not used; only some silicon are added to the graphite.
Silicon cathode are divided into SiO, SiN and SiC. Samsung SDI is looking to procure SiC, or silicon carbide, instead of SiO, or silicon oxide, the people said.
MK Electron has been developing silicon anode for a long time and Samsung SDI is showing the strongest interest in the company, they said.
Dongjin Semichem has developed the same technology put is lacking in Samsung SDI’s standards, they added.
Samsung SDI’s silicon anode was developed by Samsung Advanced Institute of Advanced Technology. First anode was oxide and had 2% silicon, which was first applied in batteries in 2018. The second generation of the anode with 7% silicon is expected to launch this year. The third generation with 10% silicon is planned to launch in 2024.