SK IE Technology has officially opened its first of a total of four planned production facilities for separators for use in electric car batteries in Poland. SK IE Technology is a subsidiary of the South Korean battery cell manufacturer SK Innovation. The Company plans to start production in Poland this year.
The first plant in Poland is expected to have an annual capacity of 340 million square meters s of separator film. This would be enough to equip around 300,000 electric cars. Test operations are currently underway, but mass production is to follow in the fourth quarter at the first Polish SK IE Technology plant.
Separators are the components in lithium-ion batteries that separate the cathode from the anode. It therefore prevents contact between the electrodes, which would cause a short circuit, while lithium ions can move freely between the electrodes.
All four plants announced by SK IE Technology will be built in the Silesia region of Poland. The commissioning of the second plant is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023. The South Korean company also give the annual capacity there as 340 million square meters.
Plants 3 and 4, which were announced in spring, will be larger and will each be able to produce 430 million square meters of separators per year. Commissioning is planned for “Q4 2023 – Q2 2024”. The investment in the latter duo amounts to 1.13 trillion won, equivalent to about 850 million euros.
On the occasion of the opening of the first plant, Rho Jae-sok, CEO and President of SK IE Technology, commented as follows: “The operation of the first European plant has positioned the company as the first battery separator producer in Europe. We will take a significant part in revitalizing the global electric vehicle market.” The manufacturer describes Poland as its “European production base” and has already received so many orders that the entire initial output of the four factories has already been bought.
While SK IE Technology in Poland now expects a total output of 1.54 billion square meters of separator foil, the SK subsidiary in Korea already has capacities of 530 million square meters per year. If no further plants are added or expanded, SK IE Technology would have 2.75 billion square meters of capacity when it starts operations in Poland in 2024 at the latest.