The battery materials unit of SK Innovation Co. said the global market for premium wet-type separators, a key component for electric vehicles, will run into a supply shortage in 2023 due to “explosive” growth.
SK IE Technology Co. said in a statement Thursday that its sales of separators for EVs jumped 490 percent last year from 2018. The company -- part of South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate SK Group -- expects separators will account for about 80 percent of total sales in the next three years or more, from about 55 percent currently.
“We’ve been keeping a close track of demand and supply and it looks like supply will fall short of meeting the rising demand from 2023,” CEO Rho Jae-sok told reporters at a briefing in Seoul.
Separators improve the output and stability of lithium-ion batteries. Wet separators are thinner and stronger than dry separators, and allow for higher capacity. While lithium-ion batteries are found in everything from laptops to cell phones, it’s their primary role in electric vehicles that’s creating surging demand.