EcoPro will take part in LG Energy Solution’s electric vehicle battery recycling business, TheElec has learned.
It is South Korea material maker’s first deal with LG in 8 years. EcoPro halted precursor supply to LG back in 2012.
EcoPro has multiple subsidiaries that can produce cathode and have technologies that can be used for battery recycling.
During battery production, some materials leak and there is also always defects. These leakages can be used over 90% of the time.
EcoPro will oversee battery recycling at LG Energy Solution’s factory in Kobierzyce, near Wroclaw in Poland. The company will work to recycle scrub and defect batteries that are left during production. EcoPro will extract key materials such as cathode and anode for reuse in battery production.
The precise terms of the deal is yet unknown. However, LG Energy Solution’s factory in Poland has a production capacity of 65GWh per year and the recycling business is expected to produce tens of billion wons in added value. Battery materials are also reused more compared to those for semiconductors and display panels.
Posco is also taking part in the project as part of a consortium. But Posco lacks battery recycling technology and EcoPro will likely be leading the project.
The recent deal with EcoPro and LG also raises the question on whether it will affect the South Korean cathode market. EcoPro had supplied LG with precursors for cathode up to 2012 but exited due to rival Japanese companies offering price-competitive alternatives to LG. EcoPro then formed EcoPro BM and supplied cathode to Sony (now Murata), Samsung SDI and SK Innovation, growing its business.
EcoPro isn’t supplying LG with cathode yet but the recycling business may eventually open the door for such a deal.
However, this may risk EcoPro’s relationship with Samsung SDI. EcoPro secured its technology for precursors and cathode from Cheil Industries, a Samsung affiliate, back in 2008. EcoPro’s now defect electrolyte business’ first client was also Samsung SDI.
EcoPro and LG Energy Solution declined to comment on the matter.