SK Innovation and SungEel HiTech have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a battery recycling joint venture.
The companies plan to jointly build a battery recycling plant to extract cathode materials such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese from used batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). The plant is scheduled to begin operations in 2025.
SK Innovation said that it is also considering building plants in the United States and Europe in the future. The companies did not disclose the ownership ratio of the joint venture, which will be formed next year.
Listed on the Kosdaq market in July, SungEel HiTech is a battery recycling company based in Gunsan, South Jeolla. Samsung SDI owns 8.79 percent of the company as the third largest shareholder. The company runs Korea’s only large-scale hydrometallurgy battery recycling plant that extracts cobalt, nickel, manganese and copper using water as solvent.
SK Innovation has been developing a technology to retrieve lithium hydroxide from lithium-ion batteries since 2017.
“Recycling metal from used batteries is the new business that will be the core of SK Innovation’s ‘carbon to green’ financial initiative and expanding its eco-friendly business portfolio,” said Kang Dong-soo, head of SK Innovation’s portfolio division.
“In line with the fast-growing EV market, we are pushing for environmentally-friendly technology development, battery recycling technology improvement and production expansion,” said Yi Kang-myung, SungEel HiTech CEO.
The signing ceremony was held on Tuesday at SK’s building in Jongno District, central Seoul.