Northvolt to source copper foils from SK Nexelis
SK Group subsidiary SK Nexilis has signed a supply contract with Northvolt for copper foil worth up to 1.4 trillion won (US$1,08 billion). The five-year contract will come into effect next year.
The supply volume is to cover about 80 per cent of Northvolt’s copper foil needs during the signed period and is expected to be sufficient for the batteries of 1.7 million electric vehicles. SK Nexilis is building a copper foil factory in Poland by 2024. Further new factories are planned in Malaysia, the USA and Canada.
The newspaper Korea Herold quotes a representative of SK Nexilis as saying that they are in talks with top global battery customers about further contracts and plan to announce the result soon. Copper foils, along with aluminium foils, are used as carrier foils in electrode production. For the anode, the extremely thin copper foil is coated with graphite.
As mentioned above, the plant is currently under construction in the southern Polish city of Stalowa Wola and is scheduled to start operation in the second half of 2024 and will have a production volume of 50,000 tonnes per year. The total investment by SK Group and its wholly owned subsidiary SK Nexilis was put at 900 billion won, or about 693 million euros, when the plans were announced in July 2022.
In parallel, SK Nexilis plans to complete the construction of a copper foil plant in Malaysia this year and lay the foundation for two more plants in the USA and Canada. The company has set itself the goal of reaching an annual production capacity of 250,000 tonnes by 2025 and establishing a global production network in connection with this.
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New customer Northvolt has been producing battery cells in series at the ‘Northvolt Ett’ battery factory in Skellefteå since the end of 2021, and the cells have also been delivered since the spring of 2022. Further battery factories are planned in Borlänge, Gothenburg (for the Volvo plant in Torslanda) and in Heide in Germany (called Northvolt Drei). However, high energy prices are currently slowing down construction in Schleswig-Holstein.
In addition to sourcing raw materials through supply agreements, Northvolt intends to cover 50 per cent of its raw material needs from recycled batteries by 2030 through a large-scale recycling programme.
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