SK boost its investment in separator plants in Poland
SK Innovation's material business subsidiary, SK IE Technology, is making the largest investment in history of the company's EV battery separator business. The investment will result in the construction of two new plants in Poland.
SK IE Technology will invest approximately KRW 1.13 trillion (EUR 8.47 million) to build its third and fourth separator plants in European, more specifically in Silesia, Poland. This is the largest single investments made by SK IE Technology so far. The annual production capacity of SK IE Technology’s Plant 3 and 4 in Poland is 430 million square metre each. Accordingly, SK IE Technology will be able to produce 1.54 billion square metre separators in total per year just in Poland by combining the production capacity of 680 million square metre from the existing Plant 1 and 2, a press release reads. Separators are essential materials that directly affect the safety and performance of lithium-ion batteries in EVs. It takes up approximately 15-20% of the battery production cost and is a key part of the EV and battery industry’s growth. The reason behind SK IE Technology's large-scale investments is that the company is looking to take preemptive measures on the highly increased purchase demand from related industries of the rapidly growing EV battery market. Currently, the company's plant 1 in Poland is getting ready to start production – scheduled to start in the third quarter this year – however, the supply is already "sold out". Which is one major reason for this capacity expansion. By expanding the market share through preemptive investment and enhance its position as the premium separator manufacturer, SK IE Technology is looking to solidify its current standing in the world’s wet process separator market. SK IE Technology will begin the construction of Plant 3 and Plant 4 in Poland in the third quarter this year and start producing by the end of 2023. The existing Plant 1 begins production in the third quarter this year, and Plant 2 is starting in the first quarter of 2023. SK IE Technology says it already secured approximately 860 million square metre production capacity in Korea, and Changzhou, China with plants in full operation. New plants under construction in Silesia, Poland, and Changzhou, China, will begin operating sequentially. Thus, the production capacity will increase to approx. 1.36 billion square metre by the end of this year. Through this investment in Plant 3 and 4 in Poland, the production capacity of 2024 will reach 2.73 billion square metre.