SEOUL — South Korea’s leading steel group POSCO made a strategic equity investment in Taiwan’s solid-state battery developer Prologium Technology to cooperate in the production of all-solid-state battery electrolytes for electric vehicles with the aim of pre-empting an emerging market for next-generation battery materials.
POSCO Holdings said it has signed a contract with Prologium to jointly develop cathode materials for solid solid-state batteries, silicon anode materials, and solid electrolytes and establish a global supply system. Financial terms were not disclosed.
POSCO’s investment came as South Korean companies strive hard to gain a competitive edge in a global battery war by releasing efficient next-generation products with affordable manufacturing costs, such as all-solid-state batteries which are seen as a next-generation power source for electric vehicles. Solid electrolytes are nonflammable and more stable. They can have a higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries.
“Through cooperation with Prologium, we will strengthen POSCO Group’s competitiveness in next-generation secondary battery materials and further expand its business portfolio,” Lee Kyung-seop, head of POSCO Holdings’ battery material business division, said in a statement on May 13.
Prologium CEO Vicent Yang described POSCO as an ideal business partner for producing battery materials such as lithium, nickel, and graphite as well as cathode and anode materials. “We hope this cooperation will advance our battery production schedule and contribute to the stable supply of essential materials,” Yang was quoted as saying.
Prologium closed a financing round of $326 million in October 2021, followed by a multi-million euro equity investment from Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz in January 2022. Prologium and Mercedes-Benz agreed on milestones involving the use of solid-state battery technology in passenger vehicles.
POSCO Holdings set up a joint venture named Posco JK Solid Solution in January with Jeong Kwang, a domestic solid electrolyte material manufacturer, to build a major solid electrolyte factory capable of producing 24 tons per year. Construction will be completed in the second half of 2022.
The steel group regards battery materials as its next growth engine. Group chairman Choi Jeong-woo has presented a goal to invest 25 trillion won ($10 billion) by 2030 and establish a system capable of producing 420,000 tons of cathodes and 260,000 tons of anodes. In March 2022, POSCO Chemical and General Motors agreed to build their joint venture plant in Quebec, Canada, to produce high-nickel cathode active materials.
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