EV battery maker SK On announced last week that it has signed an agreement with a U.S. graphite processor to develop key raw battery materials.
Arizona-based Urbix will work with the manufacturer to produce anode materials tailored for SK On’s batteries, according to the release. Urbix, which specializes in sustainable graphite processing, is in the midst of constructing a commercial scale demonstration plant able to produce 28,500 tons per year by 2025.
Graphite is the favored anode material for lithium-ion batteries, as it offers a stable life cycle, fast-charging and outstanding energy density, according to an article in the scientific journal Sustainable Energy & Fuels.
SK On said the joint development agreement offers them the opportunity to diversify sourcing from countries, namely China, that dominate graphite supply. It will also help the South Korea-based manufacturer carve out anode supply in North America as it seeks to comply with battery provisions outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act.
If development proves successful, the battery maker said it would consider sourcing Urbix’s anode materials for its U.S. EV battery manufacturing operations. In addition to its own facilities, SK On currently has battery factories underway in partnership with Ford and Hyundai.
“This agreement is meaningful in increasing the possibility of securing eco-friendly and high performance anode active materials for use in SK On’s U.S. plants,” said Sun Heeyoung, SK On VP of handling advanced research, in a statement. “SK On will continue to work to develop anode materials that can maximize battery performance.”