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SK Innovation, Solid Power to co-develop, produce solid-state batteries

Dr. Lee Seong-jun, chief technology officer of SK Innovation (left), poses with Doug Campbell, chief executive officer of Solid Power, after signing a deal on joint development and production of solid-state batteries in Daejeon, on Thursday. (SK Innovation)
Dr. Lee Seong-jun, chief technology officer of SK Innovation (left), poses with Doug Campbell, chief executive officer of Solid Power, after signing a deal on joint development and production of solid-state batteries in Daejeon, on Thursday. (SK Innovation)
SK Innovation and Solid Power will co-develop and produce solid-state batteries that are 33 percent more powerful than conventional lithium-ion batteries, the two companies said Thursday.

The South Korean battery-to-petrochemical giant and the US-based battery startup will manufacture solid-state batteries with energy density of at least 930 watt-hours per liter, which would increase the driving range of electric vehicles to 930 kilometers on a single charge.

Solid Power is one of the world’s most promising advanced battery developers, having drawn investments from major automakers including Ford and BMW. As part of the partnership, SK Innovation will invest $30 million in the firm.

Solid-state and lithium-ion batteries are made of four key components -- cathodes, anodes, electrolytes and separators. The major difference is, as the name suggests, solid-state batteries contain solid electrolytes.

This simple change in chemistry makes solid-state batteries lighter, more powerful, and above all, fireproof.

Solid Power is currently manufacturing prototypes of solid-state batteries at its headquarters in Louisville, Colorado. The production of Solid Power’s solid-state batteries is compatible with that of lithium-ion batteries. This will allow SK Innovation to utilize existing infrastructure even if paradigm shifts to solid-state batteries.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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