SK Innovation and Solid Power Partner to Produce Automotive-Scale Solid-State Batteries

Battery maker SK Innovation has announced a memorandum of understanding and agreement to jointly develop and manufacture solid-state batteries for electric vehicles using Solid Power’s proprietary electrolyte technology. The goal of the partnership is to validate Solid Power’s fully solid-state battery and electrolyte production processes and work together to further develop the technology.

SK Innovation is a chemical energy and electronic battery-focused subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate SK Group. In more than decades of oil refining, SK Innovation has grown into a global supplier of batteries, especially to car manufacturers.

This includes companies like Ford, which announced a joint venture with the company last May, and Korean company Hyundai Motor Group. While it may not be as reputable as SK Innovation, Solid Power is no stranger to dealing with traditional car manufacturers either.

Around the same time as Ford’s aforementioned venture with SK Innovation, it also announced $ 130 million in funding alongside BMW to support Solid Power’s solid-state battery development.

They are not alone either. Last June, Solid Power announced plans to merge with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III ($ DCRC) to appear on the Nasdaq, which included $ 350 million in cash in trust.

Now, SK Innovation sees the potential in Solid Power’s proprietary solid electrolyte, as the company looks to team up to see the development of these EV solid-state batteries on the finish line for implementation in its own production processes.

Source: Solid Power

SK Innovation joins Solid Power to develop solid-state batteries

In a recent press release from Solid Power, the company announced a memorandum of understanding with SK Innovation to jointly develop solid-state batteries using the first-only solid sulfide-based electrolyte.

Solid Power replaced the flammable liquid electrolyte of a conventional lithium-ion battery with its own proprietary electrolyte. The Colorado-based battery company claims the result is fully solid-state battery cells that are more stable over a wider temperature range and provide better energy density compared to the best rechargeable battery cells available.

The two parties intend to work together on the development, validation and production of fully solid-state cells, with the aim of providing pre-commercial solid-state batteries to Solid Power’s automotive manufacturing customers for qualification tests. Dr Lee Seongjun, CTO of SK Innovation spoke about the newly announced partnership:

We are delighted to partner with Solid Power, an industry leading sulfide semiconductor technology company. We anticipate that our partnership with Solid Power will play a central role in providing higher energy, lower cost batteries to power longer range electric vehicles.

As part of the deal, SK innovation will invest $ 30 million in Solid Power through a subscription to buy shares in the PIPE (private investment in public capital) transaction previously announced by DCRC, which is fully committed to $ 165 million.

Solid Power, in turn, will license its proprietary technology and manufacturing practices to SK Innovation, so that SK Innovation can fully integrate Solid Power’s sulfide-based solid electrolyte material and cell designs into its production process. of existing cells.

Solid Power expects to generate a small amount of R&D revenue and electrolyte sample sales from next year.


But can it evolve?

If Solid Power’s electrolyte proves viable, with the help of SK Innovation, this could be a huge development for solid-state batteries. Such a large battery maker already has the production infrastructure in place, and if it were able to successfully integrate solid electrolyte into the cells it already produces, it might work well.

Yet this is another battery company with proprietary technology that has yet to prove it can produce a cell that is at least on par with lithium-ion … at least for the moment.

You can’t argue that Solid Power doesn’t have a lot of clout (and money) behind investors like Ford, BMW, and now SK Innovation. Oh, and an approved merger with DCRC certainly wouldn’t hurt.

We’ll have to wait and see if it’s one of the solid-state battery developers finally breaking through… it’s still too early to tell at this point. However, this technology as a whole seems to move closer and closer to evolutionary reality every time we hear about it.

If and when this happens, it could dramatically accelerate the potential and adoption of electric vehicles.

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