POSCO Chemical is expanding its production capacity for synthetic graphite anode materials. On Jan. 31, POSCO Chemical started construction of the second synthetic graphite anode material plant with an annual capacity of 10,000 tons at the Blue Valley National Industrial Complex in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province.
In December 2021, POSCO Chemical completed the first plant for synthetic graphite anode materials with an annual capacity of 8,000 tons and succeeded in localization for the first time in Korea. When the second plant, which is scheduled to be completed in the second half of next year, is built, it will have a production system with a total capacity of 18,000 tons. This is the amount that can be supplied to about 470,000 electric vehicles using 60 kWh.
Currently, the global EV anode material market is dominated by synthetic graphite. This is because it has the advantage of extending battery life and shortening charging time compared to natural graphite. According to KOTRA, as of 2022, synthetic graphite accounts for 83% of the global anode material market, with Chinese companies occupying most of the market.
POSCO Chemical manufactures synthetic graphite using needle coke made by processing coal tar generated as a by-product in the steelmaking process. Needle coke is supplied by POSCO MC Materials, a subsidiary company. POSCO secures a market for steel by-products and POSCO Chemical stably secures raw materials, improving resource circulation and completing the value chain within the group to increase synergy.
Based on this competitiveness in the value chain, POSCO Chemical signed a contract to supply synthetic graphite anode materials with Ultium Cells LLC, a battery joint venture between GM of the United States and LG Energy Solutions, worth about 939.3 billion won in December last year. The supply period is six years from 2023 to 2028.