Samsung SDI has put in capital into EcoPro EM, its joint venture with supplier EcoPro, TheElec confirmed Thursday.
It signals that the South Korean battery giant will also likely begin construction of its cathode material plant, dubbed CAM6.
Samsung and EcoPro are planning to put in 120 billion won in total into the JV. EcoPro EM will have four to five paid-in capital increase to reach the amount by December 31, 2021.
Samsung SDI will contribute 48 billion won control a 40% stake of the JV.
CAM6 will be built at Pohang and start production in the first quarter of 2022. The factory will have three production lines.
Though their output is yet unknown, Samsung’s CAM5 has an annual capacity of 26,000 metric tonnes. CAM6’s output is expected to be larger.
The new factory will produce NCA, or nickel-cobalt-aluminum oxide, with over 80% nickel (high-nickel). The goods made in Pohang will be supplied to Samsung’s factory in Hungary, where it plans to make 5th-generation batteries.
Samsung SDI is planning to wrap up the first-stage of investment into its Hungary plant by next year. EcoPro EM will need to have its materials evaluated by the second half of 2021 to supply without hitch.
Samsung plans to apply a new stacking process for battery assembly in making its 5th-generation batteries. Many challenges are ahead in mixing and formation, but if the Korean giant succeeds, it will make batteries with 20% higher density than those it makes now while price per kWh will decrease by 20%.