SEOUL, June 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Lotte Chemical Corp. said Wednesday it will spend an additional 140 billion won (US$108.4 million) to expand its electrolyte solvent factory in South Korea to produce four core electrolyte materials vital to the fabrication of lithium-ion batteries.
Lotte Chemical said it will push to produce ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC) and diethyl carbonate (DEC) — two types of solvents used in electrolyte, a key component of electric vehicle (EV) lithium-ion batteries — using its own technologies.
Electrolyte solvent refers to a liquid solution in a lithium-ion battery that helps lithium-ion move easily between anode and cathode. It is a key material that affects the performance and durability of the rechargeable battery used in electric vehicles.
Once the EMC and DEC production gets going, Lotte Chemical will be capable of producing all four of the most common types of electrolyte solvents, including ethylene carbonate (EC) and dimethyl carbonate (DMC).
The solvents account for about 30 percent of the cost of electrolyte. South Korean companies heavily rely on imports to secure the material, Lotte said.
Lotte Chemical, a unit of South Korean retail giant Lotte Group, is already spending 210 billion won to build an electrolyte solvent factory in its domestic production line in Daesan, about 75 kilometers southwest of Seoul.
Lotte Chemical plans to spend 4 trillion won to expand its battery materials business, such as cathode, anode, electrolyte and separator, with a revenue target of 5 trillion won by 2030, as part of a diversification strategy to go green.