EcoPro BM, SK On, Ford JV to produce battery cathode materials in US

The cathode material joint venture of EcoPro BM, SK On, and Ford will build a factory in the United States. The plant will produce precursors for positive electrodes, the core material used to make electric vehicle batteries.

At an investor relations event on Thursday, EcoPro, the parent company of cathode maker EcoPro BM, said it was planning to use its precursor production capacity to expand in the US market.

The company also plans to recycle old batteries and extract nickel, cobalt, and lithium from them. The used batteries will be provided by SK On and Ford's battery joint venture, Blue Oval SK. Recycling of these batteries will be done by a local company in the United States.

EcoPro also said the U.S.-based plant will import lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide from countries with which the U.S. has free trade agreements.

EcoPro may also use leftovers from Blue Oval SK's battery production line to make precursors. These precursors will be shipped to the positive wire production line in the United States.

EcoPro also stated that it plans to self-source about 30% of its nickel, precursor, and lithium use by 2027.

The precursor is made of various metal materials such as nickel sulfate, manganese, and cobalt. Mixing the precursor together with cobalt sulfate, lithium hydroxide, etc. in a ratio of 1:1 to form plasticity (the work of mixing different substances with heat) will form the positive electrode material.

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