UNIST joins hands with domestic smelting company to cooperate in R&D of secondary batteries

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 21, 2021, 11:11 Updated : December 21, 2021, 11:11

[Courtesy of Korea Zinc]

SEOUL --The Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), a state research institute, has joined hands with Korea Zinc, a major non-ferrous metal smelter based in the southern port city of Ulsan, to cooperate in the research and development of secondary batteries that are mainly used in electric vehicles and energy storage systems.
Secondary batteries, also known as rechargeable batteries, consist of metal components including non-ferrous materials such as lead, zinc, and manganese. High-performance batteries that are removed from electric vehicles (EVs) are normally repaired and recycled to be used at energy storage systems (ESSs).
High-performance batteries have a lifespan of about six years when they are repeatedly charged and discharged at an ESS and a lifespan of about 30 years when they are used as EV batteries. When batteries reach the end of their lifespan, they are stripped down and reusable components are salvaged.
UNIST said in a statement on December 21 that the state research institute and Korea Zinc signed a cooperation agreement to jointly research and develop secondary batteries and new materials. UNIST and Korea Zinc will share research facilities and nurture personnel who specialize in the future material development sector.
Korea Zinc made a foray into the global secondary battery industry in 2018 when the non-ferrous metal smelter joined hands with LG Chem, the former battery-making wing of South Korea's LG group, to launch Korea Energy Materials Company (KEMCO), nickel sulfate (NiSO4) manufacturing joint venture. Nickel sulfate is an important battery material that is used as a precursor. The smelter company also established KZAM, a copper foil maker, in March 2020 targeting the global market.
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