Nexeon to locate anode materials plant in South Korea
Nexeon, a UK-based developer of silicon-based anode materials for lithium-ion batteries, has announced the location for its first commercial production facility in the South Korean industrial city of Gunsan.
Construction is expected to begin this year, with production scheduled to start in 2025. The plant is expected to supply “tens of thousands of tons” of silicon anode material annually, but the company has not yet revealed its targeted production capacity.
The Nexeon plant will be located in Gunsan right next to a site owned by South Korean chemical company OCI, with which Nexeon has a binding long-term supply agreement for the monosilane needed to produce its silicon anode materials. OCI will supply the critical raw material to Nexeon’s new production line via “direct, dedicated pipelines between facilities.”
Nexeon and OCI have not disclosed the amounts in the supply agreement but have noted that Nexeon expects enormous cost advantages from the immediate vicinity. One such advantage is that the two companies are using a byproduct gas that is generated in the production of polysilicon for semiconductors at the Gunsan plant. This should enable both companies to avoid “complex and expensive logistics operations and equipment for the transport of gas chemicals.”
Another deal recently undertaken in Germany similarly illustrates how important monosilane is for the production of silicon-containing anodes: To secure its supply of the gas, Nexeon competitor Group14 recently acquired German company Schmid Silicon and its plant in the German state of Saxony.
Nexeon just announced Panasonic as its first prominent buyer a few days ago. The anode material from Nexeon will be used in the lithium-ion batteries that Panasonic will produce in its new plant in De Soto in the US state of Kansas from 2025 onwards.
“The collaboration with OCI is a significant milestone that will help rapidly scale our operations,” said Scott Brown, CEO of Nexeon. “Between securing a strong supply chain of raw material and our supply agreement with Panasonic,we are one step closer to delivering the best performing and cost-efficient silicon anode materials – a vital enabler of more energy-dense batteries.”