Group14 Technologies, a global provider of silicon-carbon composite materials for lithium-ion markets, and SK materials, one of the world’s top manufacturers of special gases and industrial gases, are forming a joint venture to build a factory for lithium-silicon battery materials in South Korea.
The joint venture is the latest development for Group14 to secure dual sourcing for its patented lithium-silicon technology, a critical measure to mitigate potential global supply chain disruptions to the battery market.
As part of the joint venture, SK materials, a subsidiary of SK Group, will invest $52 million in the development of a battery materials manufacturing hub in South Korea expected to launch in 2022.
As demand for high-performing battery materials continues to skyrocket, the volatility of the global supply chain poses significant challenges for lithium-ion-powered industries such as consumer electronics, electric vehicles, medical devices and more. To mitigate supply chain disruptions, Group14's new joint venture opens up the capability for dual sourcing for its lithium-silicon technology both from South Korea and its domestic Battery Active Materials (BAM) factory in Washington, which launched earlier this year.
The joint venture agreement comes on the heels of Group14’s $17-million Series B round in December 2020, which was led by SK materials. As a leading provider of anode battery materials, Group14’s lithium-silicon technology, SCC55, delivers more energy density per volume to meet the increasing global demand for high-performing lithium-ion-based storage.
SCC55 has five times the capacity and affords up to 50% more energy density than conventional graphite for Lithium battery anodes, according to Group14. Its hard carbon-based scaffolding is a silicon-dominant composite, composed with amorphous, nano-sized silicon. Drop-in ready, SCC55 consists of integrated intra-particle void space, with low surface area and is made with readily available, non-exotic, ultra-high purity materials.
The result is the best-in-class anode material that exhibits outstanding first cycle efficiency and long life upon Li-ion battery cycling
Group14 investors include ATL, BASF, Cabot Corporation, Showa Denko and SK materials.
SK materials Co Ltd is a Korea-based company engaged in the manufacture and sale of special gases. The company produces nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which is injected to remove any residues on the internal walls of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) chamber; silane (SiH4), which is used to deposit silicon on wafer in semiconductors and to deposit silicon on TFT on top of glass substrates for TFT-LCD; tungsten hexafluoride (WF6), which makes contact plugs during CVD process, as well as dichlorosilane (DCS), which is silicon precursor gas used in combination with ammonia for SiH4 CVD and for deposition of epitaxial silicon.