Samsung SDI orders NCA cathode materials from Posco

The South Korean materials group Posco Chemical has received its largest and longest-term order to date. Battery manufacturer Samsung SDI has contracted Posco Chemical to supply NCA cathode material over a ten-year period.

The high nickel content NCA cathodes are explicitly for electric vehicle batteries. The order is worth 40 trillion won (equivalent to around 30 billion euros) and covers 2023 to 2032.

For its part, it is not clear from the Posco announcement whether Samsung SDI’s order to Posco covers cathode procurement for a large single customer or several of its battery customers. Samsung SDI is one of the important suppliers to BMW and is rumoured to be planning cylindrical cell production for BMW’s New Class models in Hungary. In South Korea, Samsung SDI is also building a pilot line to build 4680 format cells for Tesla. What is clear, on the other hand, is that in addition to all its own plants, Samsung SDI is building a cell factory in the US state of Indiana together with Stellantis. All of these projects need to be supplied with primary products.

Currently, only a few carmakers have so far used NCA cathodes, which are made from lithium, nickel, cobalt and aluminium. NCM and NCMA cathodes made from lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese (plus aluminium in the case of NCMA) are more widely used in the industry. For example, the Panasonic cylindrical cells for Tesla from the Giga Nevada use the NCA cell chemistry

For Posco, it is not only the largest and longest-term order to date, but also the first for a pure NCA product. Posco Chemical’s main products in the battery sector have been NCM and NCMA cathode materials, but the company also offers LFP cathodes. Posco expects these product groups to “further diversify in the future depending on market conditions.” One major customer is Ultium Cells, the battery joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution.

“Our efforts to expand our product portfolio through partnerships with clients and to enhance our business competitiveness in response to the rapidly growing electric vehicle market have now paid off,” says Kim Joon-hyeong, president of Posco Chemical. “By producing world-class cathodes through close cooperation with Samsung SDI, we will further cement our position as a global market leader.”

Samsung SDI President Choi Yoon-ho added, “Now that we’ve established a firm, long-term relationship of trust with POSCO Chemical through this instance of cooperation, the foundation has been laid for the two companies to achieve long-term, large-scale growth together. Through this, we, Samsung SDI, expect to accelerate the achievement of our vision of becoming a global top-tier company in the rapidly growing electric vehicle battery market.”


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