SEOUL, Mar. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — SK Innovation Co., South Korea’s largest refiner by sales, said Wednesday that it will invest 430 billion won (US$380 million) to build a lithium-ion battery separator (LiBS) plant in Poland, in a bid to meet growing demand for electric vehicle batteries.
The company, also a major EV battery maker, said it plans to start the construction of the LiBS plant in Silesian Voivodeship in the third quarter of the year, with the aim to begin production in 2021.
The plant with an annual production capacity of 340 million square meters is the second overseas LiBS plant following the plant set up in Changzhou in China.
In October, SK Innovation said it plans to spend 400 billion won to build the LiBS plant in China.
The separator is a key component of high capacity electric vehicle power packs that drive electric cars.
SK Innovation also said it would expand the capacity of its LiBS plant in South Korea to 530 million square meters from the current 360 million square meters.
When the construction of the LiBS plants in China and Poland is completed, SK Innovation will have an annual LiBS output of 1.21 billion square meters.
SK Innovation is South Korea’s top oil refiner, but it has moved into the electric vehicle battery business since 2008 as part of efforts to find new revenue sources.
Currently, SK Innovation supplies batteries to South Korea’s largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor Co., and its smaller affiliate, Kia Motors Corp.
The electric vehicle battery market has been on the rise as automakers race to go electric due to tightened regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists say are to blame for global warming.