LOTTE Aluminium and LOTTE Chemical, subsidiaries of a giant South Korean conglomerate, plan to invest some $239 million to establish an aluminum foil manufacturing operation in Hardin County, Kentucky.
We’re not talking about the kind of foil you use to wrap leftover pizza, but rather cathode foil, a type of ultra-thin aluminum foil that is a core material used in EV batteries. Cathode foil supports the cathode active material, and also serves as a passage for electrons.
The manufacturing facility is expected to begin operations in 2025, and to have an annual capacity of 36,000 tons of cathode foil. Company leaders expect demand for this material to increase by an average of 32% annually by 2030.
“We will do our best to develop and support technology so that we can stably produce high-quality and high-efficiency cathode foils to respond to customers one step at a time,” said Kim Gyo Hyun, President and CEO of LOTTE Chemical.
Kentucky has ambitions to be the EV battery production capital of the US: last September, Ford and SK Innovation announced plans to build twin battery plants in Glendale, Kentucky (along with a third in Tennessee); and in April of this year, Japanese battery technology company Envision AESC revealed plans for a new battery gigafactory in Bowling Green.
The state has awarded LOTTE up to $1 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures and equipment.
“We continue to see significant investment from EV-related businesses across the state,” said Governor Andy Beshear. “Further growth of this sector will require attraction of a broad range of suppliers, and this announcement by LOTTE signifies just that. We are building an ecosystem that will last for generations to come.”