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POSCO Chemical completes the world’s largest cathode production single plant in Gwangyang

Construction was completed on the 10th of this month in Gwangyang, Jeollanam-do, South Korea for full-scale operation with an annual cathode production capacity of 90,000 tonnes

by The Business Pinnacle
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POSCO Chemical has completed the construction of the world’s largest cathode production plant in Gwangyang, starting a full-scale operation that will have an annual cathode production capacity of 90,000 tonnes. The plant is anticipated to play a vital role in setting the foundation as the company expands as a top-notch battery material producer, hailed for its production capacity, high-quality products and materials, and product diversification.

On November 10, 2022, POSCO Chemical held a completion commemoration for the cathode material plant in Gwangyang, Jeollanam-do, South Korea. Around 100 business executives attended the event – Kyung-zoon Min, CEO of POSCO Chemical, Sung-hee Han, CEO of POSCO E&C, Sang-rak Song, Director of Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone Authority.

CEO of POSCO Chemical Kyung-zoon Min “We hope to secure growth engines by accelerating global investment based on the Gwangyang cathode plant”

The newly constructed cathode material plant is anticipated to increase the annual production capacity from 3 to 90,000 tonnes. It has the world’s largest production capacity built on a single plant. This annual production capacity is equivalent to the number of cathode materials required to manufacture batteries for 1 million high-performance electric vehicles (EVs).

Produce high-nickel cathode materials for next-generation EVs and supply them to global clients

The Gwangyang plant will specialize in generating high-nickel NCMA and NCM cathodes, which are next-generation electric vehicle battery materials and supply them to global battery manufacturers and automakers. In the time to come, the company prepares to respond flexibly to changing market demands by launching extensive product lines involving high nickel single particle cathodes, NCA cathodes, and Cathode Materials for Energy Storage System (ESS).

Step-by-step enlargement process 

The cathode plant was enlarged over four years and three months following a four-step process, which considered the condition of the market and the status of contracts, with the initial phase being introducing a production plant with an annual production capacity of 5,000 tonnes in August of 2018. The plant has a total area of 165,203 square metres, which is equivalent to the size of 23 soccer fields.

The Gwangyang plant has advanced into a smart factory that facilitates quicker and more effective production of the finest products, owing to POSCO Chemical’s amassed knowledge and technical proficiency and POSCO Group’s manufacturing, construction, and ICT expertise.

Continuous improvement in the process led to a 300% increase in the production capacity per line associated with the preliminary stages of construction. The entire procedure is operated unmanned, and a logistics system that can move raw materials and products swiftly at a pace of 5 meters per second utilizing an air transport technique is as well equipped.

The company is profoundly following RE100 and ecological management by installing solar power generation facilities that can generate around 1.3GWh of renewable energy per annum on the roof and parking spaces and reducing wastewater generated during precursor production by 49% associated with the existing procedure through the introduction of recycled use of water and pollutant reduction facilities.

The POSCO Group is creating a full value chain cluster of battery materials near the Gwangyang plant, where the company can produce raw materials, intermediary materials, and cathode materials in a single area. This cluster, which will bring the Group’s material competitiveness into a single area, will highlight POSCO-Pilbara Lithium Solution, which produces 43,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per annum. POSCO HY Clean Metal, extracts lithium, nickel, and cobalt from recycled waste batteries, including a precursor plant with an annual capacity of 45,000 tonnes to produce intermediary materials.

With the completion of the Gwangyang plant which has a 90,000-ton production capacity per annum, POSCO Chemical has secured a total of 105,000 tonnes of cathode material production capacity, including the 10,000 tonnes from Gumi plant and 5,000 tonnes from its joint ZPHE, also called Zhejiang Posco-Huayou ESM plant in China. Additionally, at present, the company is building a 60,000-ton Pohang plant, a 30,000-ton ZPHE plant in China, and a 30,000-ton GM joint plant in Canada.

POSCO Chemical, which has built the world’s largest and highest-level production base, prepares to expand its global centres in North America, Europe, and China.

POSCO Chemical, which has developed the world’s largest and highest-level production base, proposes to expand its global bases in North America, Europe, and China by responding more swiftly and flexibly to potential market variations and customer demands. Applying the Gwangyang plant as a role-model plant, the company intends to become a top-notch battery material business with extensive R&D and an unparalleled product portfolio by expanding its cathode production capacity in-country and overseas to 340,000 tonnes in 2025 and 610,000 tonnes in 2030.

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