A leading electrolyte supplier for major battery makers of South Korea, Dongwha Electrolyte is planning a business expansion in Hungary. Dongwha Electrolyte is the first South Korean company to domestically produce electrolyte products for Lithium-ion batteries and is currently operating production facilities in Korea, China, and Malaysia.
Due to EU legislation setting mandatory emission reduction targets for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, a rapid market shift to eco-friendly vehicles such as xEV (Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) seems inevitable. As a result, major xEV battery makers are establishing production facilities in Europe in order to occupy the regional market in time. It is predicted that the global Lithium-ion battery market will grow from the current USD 25 billion to USD 100 billion by 2025 based on increasing demand.
“These are the reasons we have prepared for the European market since 2018, and we established a corporation in Hungary in 2019,” the Managing Director of Dongwha Electrolyte Hungary, Ma Sung Nam tells Diplomacy&Trade.
He adds that geographical accessibility is very important for manufacturing efficiency of electrolyte, and also that Samsung SDI and SK Innovation plants are located in Hungary. When Dongwha Electrolyte plant’s construction is completed in Sóskút, northwest of Budapest, near those battery companies, seamless material supply to manufacturers of finished
secondary battery will be possible.
Construction work on Dongwha Electrolyte’s secondary battery electrolyte production plant is to start in October this year, and the company is aiming for a pilot production in May 2021. When the construction is completed, it is expected to produce 20,000 tons of high-quality products annually.
The NMP (N-methyl pyrrolidone) refinery, which begins construction in December this year, is scheduled to begin operating in June next year. With the NMP refining business,
the first of its kind in Hungary, Dongwha will save resources, protect the environment and secure cost competitiveness through recycling waste NMP generated during the secondary battery manufacturing process. The Managing Director says the plant will need a total of 90 employees, “and what we expect is a sincere attitude, professional skills and good
relationship with our colleagues.”
Electrolyte and NMP
Lithium-ion battery electrolyte contains Lithium salts, high-performance additives, and low viscosity organic solvents. Major functional requirements of quality electrolyte are high Li-ion conductivity, wide range of operation temperature, and large window of electrochemical stability. The electrolyte is one of the four key materials of the Li-ion battery (LiB), and yet there is no electrolyte manufacturer for large-sized LiB operating in Europe. Close geographical proximity among production facilities of each component is required for manufacturing efficiency.
NMP is a type of organic solvent, which has a high boiling point (about 200 degrees Celsius) and is chemically stable with the ability to dissolve various substances. Therefore, it is widely used as a common solvent in petro-chemical, plastic and pharmaceutical industries.
NMP is also used in electrode materials manufacturing when applying active materials, drying and rolling the electrode as a solvent for lithium compound and polyvinylidene fluoride. After manufacturing electrode materials with NMP, the used NMP is recycled for cost efficiency purpose, as well as to protect environment by reducing waste.
The use of electric batteries is environmentally friendly. At Dongwha Electrolyte, they make sure that the manufacturing of battery components does not mean a burden for the environment. As for electrolyte, it is a simple mixing process of materials, therefore, waste is not generated in the manufacturing process. The NMP refinery will receive used NMP solvent from battery cell manufacturers and refine the used NMP into highly pure NMP to supply back to battery cell manufacturer. The used NMP recycling business is an eco-friendly system, saving resources and protecting the environment, Managing Director Ma Sung Nam concludes.
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