EcoPro EM, the battery cathode making joint venture between Samsung SDI and EcoPro BM, may build its next cathode factory in Europe, TheElec has learned.
The company was originally planning to build its third factory, CAM7-N, at Pohang, South Korea, but is now strongly considering Europe, people familiar with the matter said.
The decision isn’t final as of yet and will likely be made within the year.
Parent company EcoPro BM is expanding in Europe already. It is planning to expand there as customers Samsung SDI and SK Innovation are expanding their battery plants there as well.
EcoPro EM is yet to decide on the country as well. It is considering Hungary and other countries.
The company is also planning to not just to make cathodes in Europe but manufacture precursors and nickel sulfate, as well as conduct recycling business.
Samsung SDI likely won’t mind EcoPro EM’s entry into Europe.
Samsung SDI is expanding its factory in Goed, Hungary, so it needs a cathode factory close by.
It could have a similar ecosystem at Hungary as it does in Pohang, South Korea. EcoPro, with its subsidiaries, are building a cluster in the Korean city around the production key materials needed in batteries.
Cost is crucial in cathode production. This is why EcoPro has recently started a battery recycling business with LG Energy Solution at Poland. Reusing scrubs from battery production can help with cost tremendously.
Addition of CAM7-N will give EcoPro EM an annual cathode production capacity of 60,000 metric tonnes.
CAM6 will be completed in the first half of 2022, while construction of CAM7 will begin in the second half of 2021.
EcoPro EM is planning to spend 140 billion won in expanding its facilities. Its latest CAM5 line has recently started production of nickel, cobalt and aluminum oxide cathodes for Samsung SDI.