LG Energy Solution to build cylindrical cell plant in Arizona

By Lim Chang-won Posted : March 24, 2022, 09:49 Updated : March 24, 2022, 09:49

[Courtesy of LGES]

SEOUL -- LG Energy Solution, the battery-making wing of South Korea's LG Group, will build a cylindrical cell plant in Queen Creek in the state of Arizona to actively respond to fast-growing demands from electric vehicle startups and wireless power tool makers in North America.

LG Energy Solution (LGES) said it would invest some 1.7 trillion won ($1.39 billion) to build a new factory for cylindrical lithium-ion batteries with an annual capacity of 11 gigawatts hours (GWh). Construction will begin in the second quarter of 2022 for production in the second half of 2024.

"With the construction of this factory, we will be able to provide a better customer value than anyone else in the cylindrical battery market with clear growth." LGES Vice Chairman Kwon Young-soo said in a statement on March 24.  

There are three types of batteries - prismatic, pouch and cylindrical. Prismatic cells are encased in aluminum or steel for stability and satisfy the demand for thinner sizes. Wrapped in packages, prismatic cells make optimal use of space and allow flexible design but they can be more expensive to manufacture and have a shorter cycle life than cylindrical design. 

Pouch cells use laminated architecture in a bag, offering a simple, flexible and lightweight solution to battery design. They are light and cost-effective but exposure to humidity and high temperature can shorten life. Swelling is a concern.

Cylindrical cells are the most commonly used cell type due to their lower cost, good mechanical stability, and better temperature control. They can be produced much faster, provide a better automation process and handle high internal pressures without deforming. Their main downfall is that they use up more space.

In a separate announcement on March 24, LGES said its joint venture plant with Stellantis, an automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Amsterdam, will be built in Windsor with a total injection of 4.8 trillion won ($3.9 billion). The Canada plant with an annual capacity of 45GWh is to begin in the first half of 2024. LGES and Stellantis would produce battery cells and modules for electric vehicles to be sold under the Stellantis family of brands. 

LGES has an independent in Michigan and a joint venture plant with GM in Ohio, with its second and third joint venture plants under construction. With new investments, the company will be able to produce batteries that can be mounted on 2.5 million electric vehicles by 2025 in North America.

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