SK On, a prominent global electric vehicle battery manufacturer, is strengthening its collaboration with Solid Power, a leading U.S.-based developer of solid-state battery technology. The partnership aims to expedite the advancement of all-solid-state batteries (ASSBs). The announcement comes following the signing of a research and development technology license agreement by SK On at CES 2024, the world’s largest IT expo.
The South Korean company is now securing licenses to leverage Solid Power’s cell technology for its research and development initiatives. Moreover, SK On plans to utilize this technology in producing solid-state battery cells, establishing a new pilot line in South Korea set to install this pilot line by 2025.
SK On’s collaboration with Solid Power encompasses the procurement of electrolytes crucial for solid-state battery production. The South Korean company is set to acquire electrolytes from Solid Power, initially for the upcoming pilot line and subsequently at a minimum of eight metric tonnes until 2030.
The procurement is tied to validation, and SK On plans to utilize the electrolytes for collaborative efforts in advancing its cell technologies. The expected value of these electrolyte sales to Solid Power is estimated to be at least $10 million, with the broader collaboration anticipated to generate sales exceeding USD 50 million.
The SK On and Solid Power partnership signing ceremony took place on January 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada, attended by SK On Chief Commercial Officer Sung Min-suk and Solid Power Chief Executive Officer John Van Scoter.
SK On plans to leverage its cell design and production expertise, combining it with Solid Power’s technologies in sulfide-based electrolytes and cell solutions. The alliance aims to drive the development of ASSBs with enhanced cycle life and energy density.
The agreement delineates specific focus areas, including research and development, line installation, and electrolyte supply. SK On secures the licensing rights to Solid Power’s solid-state cell designs and manufacturing processes for research activities. The agreement stipulates payments of $20 million from 2024 to 2027, contingent upon achieving milestones. However, SK On’s use of this technology is limited to research purposes and is expressly prohibited for commercial production.
John Van Scoter, President and CEO of Solid Power, highlighted the strategic importance of the Korean market and the expanded relationship as an endorsement of Solid Power’s solid-state battery technology.
An all-solid-state battery (ASSB) exclusively employs solid electrolytes instead of liquid or gel-based alternatives. This design choice reduces the risk of fire incidents and offers the potential for batteries with decreased weight and volume, surpassing current capacity limits seen in lithium-ion batteries.
Solid Power, established in 2011, has carved a niche as a technology leader in sulfide-based ASSBs. The company’s specialization extends to large-capacity cell technologies and the production processes of solid electrolytes. Since the initial investment, the two companies have been engaged in detailed discussions to refine and expand their collaborative initiatives.
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