Posco to provide anode & cathode materials for GM’s Ultium

The South Korean company Posco Chemical will supply Ultium Cells, the joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution for the series production of battery cells, with anode and cathode materials.

Posco Chemical states it signed a corresponding deal for cathodes in December 2020, now followed by an additional agreement for anodes. The company did not disclose the agreed delivery quantities or financial details.

Posco will produce the anodes from natural graphite – synthetic graphite is more stable or expands less but is more expensive. General Motors’ electric vehicles, in which Ultium Cells’ battery cells are installed, have an 800-volt system; cheaper 400-volt vehicles are to be built later. Posco’s battery materials are to be used in the Ultium Cells EV batteries from next year.

The anodes for Ultium Cells are not made in the USA but at the Sejong anode factory in South Korea. The cathodes come from the Gwangyang plant, for which Posco Chemical recently announced an expansion of production capacity. Posco goes so far as to point out that the new major order from the US was only made possible through this expansion. “The latest deal was possible due to Posco Group’s continuous research and development, expansion in manufacturing capacity and investment in material,” says Jung Dae-hun, head of the Energy Material business unit at Posco Chemical. “With the start of the EV era, [Posco Chemical] will fortify its leading stance in the battery material industry.”

Posco Chemical is 61 per cent owned by steelmaker Posco. By 2030, the chemical company aims to produce 400,000 tonnes of cathodes and 260,000 tonnes of anodes and claims to have a 20 per cent share of the battery materials market. Currently, Posco Chemical has an eleven per cent share of the anode market, which puts it in fourth place globally behind BTR, Shanshan and Zichen (all from China).

General Motors and then LG Chem (since spun off into LGES) had formed Ultium Cells in December 2019. Construction work in Lordstown in the US state of Ohio began in summer 2020.



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