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[Interview] The Future of Secondary Battery Market, All-Solid Battery Startup Solivis Leads

Recently, the "Secondary Battery Materials, Parts and Equipment Exhibition (K-Battery Show 2023)," which covers all battery materials and components held at KINTEX in Ilsan, attracted attention. The exhibition, in which 150 companies participated in 2022, showed that 230 companies participated in about 500 booths this year, showing that the secondary battery market is growing rapidly. Maybe that's why. In the domestic stock market, secondary stockholders are leading the market.

A secondary battery refers to a battery that is charged and used semi-permanently, unlike a primary battery that is used once and discarded. Among the secondary batteries, an all-solid-state battery is a battery in which an electrolyte, a core component of the battery, is replaced with a solid form from an existing liquid form, and is considered a core technology to the extent that it is called a crystal of a secondary battery.

Solivis is the first start-up established based on the all-solid-state battery research institute in Korea and currently has the source technology for mass production of solid electrolytes. It has patents related to sulfide-based solid electrolyte mass production process technology, raw material mass production-refining technology, and core technologies at home and abroad, and Solivis' solid electrolyte developed based on this is considered the best item to solve the fire problem, which is the biggest disadvantage of the battery. Starting next year, it plans to start mass production of products and directly jump into battery production in the future.

Solivis, a startup that is leading the all-solid-state battery market, recently showcased sulfide-based battery technology at a secondary battery exhibition. Sulfide solid electrolytes are the most likely materials to be applied to all-solid-state batteries.

Solivis is a company that researches and produces solid electrolytes, a key material for all-solid batteries that can fundamentally solve the risk of fire while using commercially available lithium secondary batteries, and has mass production synthesis technology for sulfide-based solid electrolytes with world-class performance. It has established a pilot phase 1, which is the beginning of mass production, and supplies products to secondary batteries and automakers. It has a vision to grow into a comprehensive solid state secondary battery material/parts/cell manufacturer in the future.

Shin Dong-wook, CEO of Solivis. Photo courtesy = Solivis

"All-solid-state batteries are secondary batteries that consist of solids, and secondary batteries that use existing liquid electrolytes have safety problems due to fires and explosions," said Shin Dong-wook, CEO of Solivis. "All-solid-state batteries do not have problems such as fires and explosions, and are not restricted by their usage environment." The most important material in all-solid-state batteries is solid electrolytes, and among them, sulfide-based solid electrolytes researched and produced by our company are known as the most promising solid electrolytes in the world."

Solivis is studying sulfide-based solid electrolytes, and mass production is possible using wet synthesis technology. In particular, it was recognized for its higher value as it could be used as a material that could improve the performance of all-solid-state batteries. "We are currently planning a business model to develop and produce various derivatives using these source technologies and then supply them to secondary battery companies and automakers," Shin Dong-wook said.

Solivis has supplied samples to major secondary battery companies and automakers around the world, including Samsung SDI, LG Chem, SKI Technology/SKOn, Mercedes-Benz and Panasonic, and is conducting joint research and development with secondary battery materials such as Umicore (Belgium), Arkema (France), Leyden Jar (Netherlands), Dongsung Chemical, and Unid in relation to technology and products.

Currently, there are few companies in Korea that can mass-produce solid electrolytes. Solivis is currently planning to start construction of a mass production plant with a production capacity of 42 tons per year in 2024, and is evaluating pilot mass production with domestic and foreign battery companies. It has the world's best mass production capability using wet synthesis technology, and has technology that can control the purity and particle size of products according to customer requests by improving technology every year

In recognition of such technology, it plans to secure 3 billion won worth of investment through 5.5 billion won in Series A investment and bridge funding, and to complete 20 billion won in Series B funding to establish factories within this year. After the company was established, Solivis was recognized for its high level of product performance through product tests of many leading domestic companies and began supplying samples produced in the pilot process to representative domestic batteries and materials companies based on its previous mass production process technology.

This year, KEPCO was selected as the host DIPS 1000+ eco-friendly energy start-up and was recognized for its technological prowess and growth, and plans are being established to jointly advance the all-solid-state battery business by strengthening cooperation with KEPCO in the future. At the end of this year, based on the outline of the specific business, it plans to complete the investment in Series B well and then start the mass production process in earnest.

Internally, the plan is to secure facilities that can produce our products stably, establish factories of a certain size or larger that can accommodate them, and externally find a competitive raw material production partner company in terms of quality and price. CEO Shin Dong-wook said, "Since there are still few companies that can mass-produce solid electrolytes, it will be an important goal to preempt the market by releasing products faster and more stably."

Solivis is a company that is attracting attention in the industry in a short period of time due to its high technology. In the future, the company aims to create a company where investors, partners, and employees who have been trusted by establishing themselves as a leading company leading the industry by investing in constant R&D.

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