Toyocolor to supply SK Innovation with Li-ion battery materials
Toyocolor Co., Ltd., the colorants and functional materials division of Japan’s Toyo Ink Group, has been tapped to supply the North American and European operations of South Korean battery manufacturer SK Innovation, with its Lioaccum series of conductive carbon nanotube (CNT) dispersions.
Lioaccum dispersions are used as the conductive additive in li-ion cathodes to help expand li-ion battery capacity of electric vehicles (EVs), for increased driving distances and faster charging performance. They will help power SK Innovation’s li-ion batteries installed in EVs manufactured by the Volkswagen Group and the Ford Motor Company, a press release reads. In recent years, the shift toward EVs is accelerating rapidly due to the global trend toward decarbonization, and many automakers have announced plans to sell only EVs by 2025 to mid-2030s. Li-ion batteries are the most common battery-type used in modern EVs due to their higher energy capacity. The incorporation of CNTs as the conductive additive is described as essential to increasing capacity but there have been a number of issues associated with CNT dispersion that have hindered its practical use. To resolve this issue, Toyocolor researchers in Japan have achieved high conductivity levels by replacing carbon black in the battery cathode with a small amount of Lioaccum CNT dispersions as the conductive additive. Reduced material usage not only gives battery manufacturers the additional cell space to insert active materials needed to boost battery capacity and performance, but it also considerably reduces manufacturing cost. At present, Toyocolor is providing SK Innovation with Lioaccum dispersions produced at the Group company LioChem in Conyers, Georgia, USA, with supply to commence from Toyo Ink Hungary in Pest, Hungary to SK Innovation’s European plants, in the first quarter of 2022. In line with the rising demand for EVs, Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co., Ltd., the parent company of the Toyo Ink Group, plans to invest approximately JPY 10 billion up to 2026, to strengthen its global battery dispersions production network (see map) and to ensure a reliable global supply. The Group aims to develop this business into a core business with sales of JPY 20 billion annually. “We are pleased to announce this new partnership with SK Innovation,” says Hideki Okaichi, president of Toyocolor in a press release. “Toyocolor has an established track record in carbon dispersion development dating back to 2015. We believe SK Innovation’s adoption of Lioaccum is a testament to our ability to reliably supply innovative battery solutions and customer-focused support to all four major auto markets of North America, Europe, China and Japan. Today’s announcement reaffirms our commitment to meet the dispersion requirements of automakers with world-class battery materials, and to the Toyo Ink Group’s vision of realizing a more sustainable society through the spread of electric vehicles.”