In a bid to diversify its portfolio of suppliers for battery anode materials, the LG Chem has signed a source contract with China’s GEM, according to industry sources on Dec. 11.
GEM will be supplying precursors for high-nickel battery anode materials that will help raise nickel content for better energy density. Details of the contract were not released.
“The deal with GEM was a strategic measure to widen the options,” said an LG Chem official. “Some of the material precursors have already been internalized, with the rest being out-sourced.”
Despite acquiring GS EM in October of 2016, LG Chem is able to produce an annual 300 tons of anode at most, indicating that precursor production is also around 300 tons.
This falls excruciatingly short of LG Chem’s anode consumption, which reaches 100,000 tons a year for supplying the growing number of EVs in the market.
GEM is China’s largest precursor firm. In South Korea, it has a joint venture called EcoPro GEM it established with EcoPro, which previously supplied LG Chem, but then turned to independently pursuing the anode business under EcoProBM. Companies such as Samsung SDI, SK Innovation and Murata are key clients.
Anode is one of the key parts of batteries and takes up around 35-40% of the total cost. Up to 2020, LG Chem is aiming to produce up to 110GWh of EV batteries. This year, it produced 80GWh, which was double last year’s capacity.
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