March 15, 2000 in Social Responsibility News

SAMSUNG SDI to Take an Equity Share in PolyPlus

The signing of the MOU took place on March 2, 2000 in Berkeley CA, USA between representatives of Samsung SDI (Kim, Soon Taek, CEO) and PolyPlus Battery Company (Hurwich, Rudolph, CEO). PolyPlus is a battery research and development company which was incorporated in 1990 by two research scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where they had developed new cathode materials to be used in lithium polymer batteries. Subsequently, a scientist at the PolyPlus laboratory invented a high capacity lithium-sulfur battery and the Company owns a substantial number of patents covering this advanced chemical battery system. The lithium-sulfur battery is widely recognized as the next generation battery with its exceptionally high theoretical energy capacity. It is expected to replace lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batter systems in the near future. The lithium-sulfur system is expected to be able to deliver more than twice the energy capacity of the lithium-ion battery and it has other advantages. It uses low-cost, non toxic materials and its operating voltage of 2.1v is in keeping with the lower voltage trend of consumer electronic products. The lithium-sulfur battery system has been vigorously researched in the United States and Japan with the prospect that, around 2005, it will replace the lithium-ion and ithium-polymer battery systems which have prevailed in the present market. Ultimately it will be able to be applied to batteries for electric vehicles and other large battery application which are expected to create a huge market (more than about 10 trillion won) by 2010. Samsung SDI plans to construct a cooperative relationship with its affiliated companies and, together with the Samsung Advanced institute of Technology, to obtain the basic core technology and process technology which are necessary for the commercialization of the battery. Samsung SDI has secured a firm position in the battery industry by obtaining access to the basic patents and technology for the lithium-sulfur battery as well as the lithium-ion battery and the lithium-polymer battery.This means that SDI has surpassed the replication phase of other advanced products and has stepped into a new phase: Samsung has secured, for the first time among Korean companies, competitive and highly qualified technology and products to compete with Japanese companies that today hold hegemony in the worldwide batteries market. Samsung SDI (Kim, Soon Taek, CEO) has entered into full operation starting from March when the construction of our Li-ion battery manufacturing plant was completed. Construction on this plant in Chunan was started last August. Manufacturing lines are commencing operation after the completion of equipment installation which started in January. They are composed of three lines and are projected to produce 2.2 million cells per month, including both prismatic and cylindrical type lithium-ion batteries and lithium-polymer batteries for cellular phones and notebook PCs. Samsung SDI plans to increase the amount of production by 100% by installing additional lines every year. Within this year 7 lines, including four lines added afterwards, will produce 4.7 million cells a month, thus the amount of production will be increased by twice as much as that at the beginning of this year. From 2002 more than 50% of Samsung Electronics Anycall (the brand name of our cellular phone) demand will be met, resulting in an import replacement effect of more than 400 billion won per year and manufacturing of 15 billion cells a month and sales of 1 Trillion won per year will be achieved in 2004. Samsung SDI's short term achievement of mass production of the best-level rechargeable battery is the result of the maximization of research efficiency by establishing an organic and cooperative system. This includes having secured 200 excellent engineers including 30 Ph.D.s since 1991; carrying out intensive (centralized) investment in R&D for 9 years and organizing a corporate four-sided R&D system such as the Development Team within the Business Team of Samsung SDI, R&D Center, Samsung Advanced institute of Technology, and Samsung Yokohama R&D Center in Japan.


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