The South Korean steel group Posco, which is very active in the field of battery materials for electric vehicles, has acquired Tera Technos, a Korean start-up for silicon anode materials, for the equivalent of around 37 million euros.
Posco plans to start expanding Tera Technos’ production facilities this year and to sell silicon anode materials from the first half of 2024. The technology of the company, founded in 2017, is mainly about the production of the anodes: This is a continuous production, i.e. a flow manufacturing process. This should make it possible to increase productivity threefold compared to the previous batch production.
The material from Tera Technos called ‘SiOx’ is based on silicon nanoparticles. With this, the company wants to minimise one of the disadvantages of conventional silicon anodes, the enormous volume expansion during charge and discharge cycles, to a fraction. The nano-mixed structure is intended to ensure the stability of the material.
Silicon anodes enable a higher energy density and shorter charging times in lithium-ion batteries compared to the graphite anode materials commonly used today. As the portal BatteryIndustry writes, the anode material from Tera is supposed to reach up to 1,500 mAh/g – the maximum possible value of graphite anodes is 372 mAh/g.
Currently, silicon anodes account for less than five per cent of the world market. According to a report by Business Korea, however, it is expected to be 25 per cent by 2030.
The steel company has broadened its portfolio in recent years, investing in battery materials and precursors, among other things. The company has an annual production capacity of 70,000 tonnes of anode materials based on natural graphite. Another factory based on synthetic graphite has a capacity of 8,000 tonnes per year. Posco is also active in cathode material production in lithium processing.
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