Lotte Chemical said it would produce ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC) and diethyl carbonate (DEC) through its own technology development for the first time in South Korea. EMC is a low viscosity solvent, generally prepared by the esterification of chloroformate with ethanol. DEC is an ester of carbonic acid and ethanol used as a solvent.
The production of safe and high-energy-density lithium batteries is dependent on the electrochemical performance of electrolytes. South Korea heavily relies on high-purity electrolytes produced by foreign companies.
At its production base in Daesan, about 75 kilometers (46 miles) southwest of Seoul, Lotte Chemical is building a plant for high-purity organic solvents, such as ethylene carbonate (EC) and dimethyl carbonate (DMC). Commercial production is to begin in the second half of 2023.
EC is used as a high permittivity component of electrolytes. DMC is a flammable organic compound used as a methylating agent and more recently as a solvent. Lotte Chemical would build facilities to capture and liquidate 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide that would be injected into raw materials for EC and DMC, or sold as raw materials for dry ice and semiconductor cleaning liquid.
"We will make efforts to expand materials for lithium-ion batteries through the active development of battery material technology and related business cooperation with group affiliates," Lotte Chemical's battery materials division head Lee Young-Jun said in a statement on June 29:
In April 2022, Lotte Chemical partnered with SOELECT, a North Carolina-based electric vehicle battery startup specializing in lithium metal batteries, to set up a joint venture and build a $20 billion lithium metal anode production facility in the U.S. by 2025. Lithium metal anodes which are considered the next-generation battery parts that will enhance the rapid-charging speed capabilities of batteries.
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