GS E&C signs investment agreement to set up battery recycling plant

10, Jan. 2020

Image by MikesPhotos from Pixabay
Image by MikesPhotos from Pixabay

SEOUL, AJU - In a high-profile ceremony attended by President Moon Jae-in, GS E&C, a major builder in South Korea, signed a business agreement on investment in recycling waste electric vehicle batteries in a new industrial zone specially designated to reduce the country's heavy dependence on precious metals abroad.

The ceremony at a gymnasium in the southeastern industrial port city of Pohang on Thursday was attended by central and provincial government officials. Last year, South Korea revised a law on recycling electric vehicle batteries and designated a special zone for battery recycling in Pohang. GS E&C is the first company to invest in the zone.

For the first stage of its investment, GS E&C agreed to spend about 100 billion won ($86 million) until 2022 to build and operate facilities capable of recycling secondary batteries to produce 4,500 tons of metals such as nickel, cobalt, lithium and manganese annually. It would make a second investment later to expand capacity to 10,000 tons.

Electric vehicle batteries use chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. They reach an end of life for replacement. Valuable materials and metals in battery packs can be recovered and recycled. Battery makers are developing technologies to recycle battery packs for electric vehicles as lithium-ion battery-powered cars are just now coming to the mass market worldwide.

LG Chem, a battery-making arm of South Korea's LG Group, has partnered with Umicore N.V., a materials technology company headquartered in Brussels, on research and cooperation in battery recycling.

South Korea's Hyundai auto group forged a strategic partnership with Wärtsilä of Finland in 2018 to commercialize ESS for battery recycling and agreed with OCI, a domestic chemical product maker, in September 2019 to recycle discarded EV batteries for a solar energy storage system.