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[ADVERTORIAL] LG Energy Solution steps up ESG

Battery maker increases use of renewable energy, battery reuse and recycling

An LG Energy Solution staff shows batteries manufactured at its plant in Ochang, North Chungcheong Province. (LG Energy Solution)
An LG Energy Solution staff shows batteries manufactured at its plant in Ochang, North Chungcheong Province. (LG Energy Solution)
LG Energy Solution is going all out to practice sustainable management in terms of eco-friendly energy, battery reuse and recycling, and responsible management of supply chains.

To tackle climate change, the company is reducing energy use throughout its battery production process and introducing renewable energy to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

The storage battery manufacturer was the first in the industry to join last year both RE100 and EV100, global initiatives to bring together businesses committed to using 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050, and to making electric vehicles the new normal by 2030, respectively.

LG Energy Solution’s plants in Poland and the US have been using 100 percent renewable energy since 2019 and July 2020, respectively.

Its factories in South Korea and China are increasing the use of energy from renewable sources.

The plant in Ochang, North Chungcheong Province, took part in the government-led “green premium” program to get 61 gigawatt hours of renewable energy annually.

As a member of the EV100, the company will convert all owned or leased vehicles of less than 3.5 tons and 50 percent of vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 metric tons into EVs by 2030.

To reduce greenhouse gas emission in the process of raw material production and transport, LG Energy Solution is monitoring carbon emissions by its partner firms; supporting their transition to renewable energy; and figuring out the optimal transportation means and routes to minimize emissions.

According to the annual RE100 report issued by the nonprofit organization Carbon Disclosure Project in January this year, LG Energy Solution saw 33 percent of its total electricity usage come from renewables in 2020, marking the highest rate among the nine Korean companies that joined RE100 including SK Group, Amorepacific Corp. and Korea Water Resources Corp.

Global businesses that consume more than 100 gigawatt hours of electricity annually are eligible to join RE100, which has 298 member companies such as Google, Apple and General Motors.

As the EV market grows rapidly, LG Energy Solution is focusing on research of waste batteries.

“Waste batteries that have been discharged after being used in EVs can be reused depending on their remaining life and condition,” a company official said.

“To make efficient use of waste batteries, we are seeking to secure technologies and considering investment.”

Having invested heavily in research and development on batteries over the past 30 years since the early 1990s, LG Energy Solution possesses a number of patents and technological prowess.

With its know-how on batteries and energy storage systems (ESS), the company plans to take the lead in the battery reuse business by working closely with carmakers.

Once an EV battery’s performance level drops to 70-80 percent, it is categorized as a waste battery, but can be used as an ESS, according to experts.

By reusing waste batteries from electric taxis that have run over 100,000 kilometers, LG Energy Solution recently set up an ESS system for charging EVs at its Ochang plant.

An electric GM Bolt can be fully charged in about an hour with the 100-kilowatt ESS charger to run 300 kilometers.

After testing the ESS system at Ochang, the company plans to review various ways to reuse waste batteries.

It is also developing methods to predict battery life to accurately assess the remaining value of used batteries, and exploring business models to utilize used batteries through cooperation with relevant businesses.

In addition to reusing waste batteries, LG Energy Solution is seeking to build a virtuous cycle by dismantling, refining and smelting them to extract metals needed for battery production.

The company is working with original equipment makers for stable supply and recycling of waste batteries, and is building a system where waste batteries can be turned into raw materials for batteries at its plants worldwide.

In October 2019, LG Energy Solution became the first Korean battery maker to join the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), a global consultative body that monitors the ethical sourcing of minerals such as gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten which are mined in conflict regions.

Through RMI, the company is receiving various pieces of information on supply chains and solidifying collaborative relationships with other businesses. It is also building a system using blockchain technology to track and transparently manage supply chains.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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