EE Times. South Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy announced plans to develop next-generation rechargeable battery technology—mainly lithium-ion—and to become the top global supplier by 2012. The government said it has assembled the infrastructure and key materials needed to boost production.
The government said it expects Korean exports of li-ion batteries to grow to $2.3 billion in 2008, giving the country a global market share of 35%. That total is forecast to jump to $6 billion by 2012, with South Korea accounting for 50% of the market. The country currently holds about a 22% share ($900 million), while Japan holds about 60% of the market.
The ministry said the project focuses mainly on development of the Li-ion batteries for use in the mobile devices, hybrid electric vehicles, robots and in the power storage sector. The move follows a massive recall of Li-ion batteries by Sony Corp. used primarily in laptop PCs.
The ministry cited a government-led R&D effort designed to localize production of four key battery components: cathode-electrode active materials, anode-electrode active materials, electrolytes and separators. Domestic development of the four elements would provide an import substitution boost of more than $160 million a year, the ministry added.
A government-backed task force consisting of about 800 members from 62 industrial, academic and research institutes has been working since 2003 to develop secondary battery technology and build infrastructure. The government contributed $82.5 million to the battery project.