SK IE Technology, the first in Korea to run factories with 100% eco-friendly power

An employee of SK IE Technology is checking the seperators produced at SK IE Technology’s Jeungpyeong LiBS factory, South Korea

SK IE Technology (SKIET), Seoul, Korea, a material business subsidiary of SK Innovation Co., Ltd., has decided to use 100% eco-friendly energy for the electricity required in domestic facilities. In Korea, there were corporates that has been using renewable energy but only partially, thus SKIET is the first to introduce 100% eco-friendly power in its plants.

Ealier this month, SKIET participated in Korea Electric Power Corporation’s (KEPCO)Green Premium” offer and has won the bid on the 8th. Green Premium is a renewable electricity purchasing program operated by KEPCO. It provides electricity generated through eco-friendly methods such as solar, wind power, water power, etc., to the winner of the bid. SKIET will use the provided green electricity at its domestic facilities, including the Lithium-ion Battery Separator (LiBS) plants in Jeungpyeong and Cheongju, South Korea.

The reason behind SKIET’s decision to preemptively use green electricity, even though it is not a regulatory subject, is in adherence to the Green Balance 2030 strategy, which emphasizes on “operating to give positive impacts on the environment.” Furthermore, it is to practice ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) management, which SK affiliates are pushing eagerly, and become a company that carries out business that is helpful to the environment.

SKIET is planning to gradually implement eco-friendly electricity in the overseas facilities as well. In addition to the green premium rate, if institutional arrangements are in place, the company also plans to purchase “Renewable Energy Certificate” that can be recognized for greenhouse gas reduction, and “Power Purchase Agreement” that will be directly contracted with renewable energy producers.

Last November, SKIET and other 7 affiliates of SK Group, became the first Korean companies that declared to Renewable Energy 100% (RE100), a global initiative where “corporates commit to 100% renewable energy.” The registration process is expected to be completed around March this year.

To carry out a business that gives positive impacts to the environment, SKIET is making various efforts from product planning to manufacturing. Instead of using oil-based catalyst that was essential in main process of making LiBS, SKIET is applying a technology that uses water, which is harmless to the environment.

SKIET is capable of making the separator 4 micrometer(μm) thick, which is 1/25 that of a strand of hair. SK Innovation’s batteries that use SKIET’s separators were never caught on fire, so it is known as a “premium separator” in the business. The separators produced and supplied by SKITE ensure both performance and safety. They are thin so that ions can easily pass through, and sturdy enough to block contact between the anode and the cathode. LiBS prevents lithium-ion batteries from bursting into flame when the two electrodes come into contact, so it is the key material in making an eco-friendly EV battery.

Meanwhile, SKIET is quickly enhancing its productivity following the growth of the global electric car market. SKIET has currently secured a total production capacity of 870 million m2 of separators manufacture capacity across its factories in South Korea, China, Poland. When the facilities that are currently under construction begin operation, SKIET’s total capacity of LiBS will rise to approximately 1.37 billion m2 by the end of this year, and approximately 1.87 billion m2 by the end of 2023, which is more than twice the current capacity.

“We will strive for practical ESG management to make products that can resolve environmental issues and make the manufacturing process become eco-friendly as well,” said Roh Jae-sok, CEO of SKIET. “With our differentiated technology and manufacture capacity, we will become a company that leads the global market while contributing to the development of the industry’s ecosystem.”

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