SK nexilis' plant in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province (SKC)
South Korean chemicals maker SKC is considering a plan to expand its production of copper foil to 250,000 metric tons with a goal of becoming the world’s largest provider by 2025, the SK Group affiliate said Wednesday.
SK nexilis, the copper making unit under SKC, will build a new copper foil factory with an annual capacity of 50,000 tons in Europe later this year to meet growing demand for the material, a key component of rechargeable batteries.
Copper foil is as thin as one-fifteenth of a strand of human hair and is used as the anode current collector of lithium-ion battery cells, which are used in electric vehicles.
Copper foil (SKC)
Poland is one of candidates on the company‘s radar, since it has as many as four global battery makers producing EV batteries nearby.
The company is currently examining details and investment conditions of several sites within Europe, it said.
With the envisioned new facility set for completion in 2024, SKC’s copper foil production capacity would rise from the current 43,000-ton level to 152,000 tons. And by 2025, the company aims to reach 250,000 tons in total capacity.
Due to the rapidly rising demand for EVs, the SK unit has been speeding up its copper foil business. Its plant in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province, has been operating at full capacity since last year. It has also moved forward operation of its fifth production line to the second half of the year, and plans to complete construction of the sixth line earlier than initially planned.
SK nexilis said earlier it plans to start construction of a new production facility in Malaysia later this year for commercial production by 2023, and is also considering an investment in the United States on the back of rapidly growing demand for EV batteries.
“SK nexilis aims to become the No. 1 in the global copper foil market for EV batteries,” said a company official. “It will continue increasing the total capacity to 250,000 tons through various measures.”
By Song Su-hyun (email@example.com