Hyundai Steel and POSCO, Korea’s two largest steel manufacturers are starting a joint project in order to recycle seashells for producing steel. So far steelmakers rely on limestone in order to break down iron ore into fine pieces. However, Hyundai Steel and POSCO aim to go greener and as South Korea alone produces over 300,000 tons of discarded seashells every year, the companies plan to recycle them as a replacement for limestone.
Just as limestone, seashells are made mostly of calcium carbonate. So far it was not sure whether or not seashells could be used in the same way as limestone in order to produce steel, as so far no technology existed to extract the needed substance from the seashells. However, thanks to years of research by Jeollanamdo based company Yeosu Bio, engineers came up with the necessary technology on behalf of the two steel giants.
This new technology is hoped to help solve environmental issues connected to steel production and to help the two companies to ensure carbon neutrality in the future.
Moreover, their main steel plant, which is also the largest steel plant in the world is located in the Gwangyang Bay Area in the southern part of Jeollanamdo. Therefore, Jeollanamdo will play an important role in the upcoming greener production of steel.
More information on the Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone can be found here.
Several global players in the chemistry industry have announced to expand the production in their factories in Jeollanamdo. Among them were Korea’s biggest chemical producer LG Chem, as well as Hanwha Corp. and the Korean-Japanese joint venture Kumho Mitsui Chemicals.
Kumho Mitsui Chemicals is a joint venture between Japanese Mitsui Chemicals and Korean Kumho Petrochemical which was formed in 1989. The company announced to add another production facility to its already existing facilitiy in Yeosu, Jeollanamdo. This expansion will increase Kumho Mitsui Chemicals production of polyurethane from 410,000 tons up to 610,000 tons. The additional facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, aiming to start production in early 2024. The expansion is part of Kumho Mitsui Chemical’s vow to contribute to the global fight against global warming. Polyurethane is used in many parts such as the automobile industry and housing sector where it is used as thermal insulation material with a high insulation efficiency.
Hanwha Corp. is another major Korean chemical cooperation which has announced to increase its production capacities in Yeosu Industry Complex, Jeollanamdo. The goal is to build another nitric acid plant in Yeosu in order to four-fold the already existing production capacities, from 120,000 tons up to 520,000 tons. Nitric-acid is used for producing semiconductor and display cleaning solutions. Another part of the production capacity will be used to produce dinitrotoluene, a raw material to produce polyurethane. Hanwha aims to finish the construction of the plant by 2023.
Unlike Kumho Mitsui Chemicals and Hanwha Corp., LG Chem has already finished the construction of an additional facility in order to increase the drastically growing demand for carbon nanotubes. The additional facility will increase the output by 1,200 metric tons from originally 500 tons to now 1,700 tons. Carbon nanotubes are a raw material used in the production of electric vehicle batteries.
The continuous increase in investment in Jeollanamdo proves that Jeollanamdo is taking a leading role in South Korea’s fight against global warming and in the search for eco-friendly solutions in industrial productions. Just last month Korea’s steel giant POSCO has announced similar plans to increase its production capacities in Jeollanamdo and to build Korea’s first ever lithium extraction factory.
South Korea’s steel giant POSCO plans to build Korea’s first ever lithium-hydroxide extraction factory in Gwangyang, Jeollanamdo. Lithium-hydroxide (LiOH) is one of the most important components when building battery cathodes for electric vehicles. With the rising demand for batteries because of a rapidly growing EV-market POSCO wants to prepare for the future, in accordance to its own expansions in the EV-production business. As the lithium price is rising continuously due to the rapid increase in EV-production, South Korea aims to be less reliant on importing Lithium from the global market. So far Korea had to import its lithium from South America, the US and China.
The factory is going to be a joint investment by POSCO and the Australian lithium producer Pilbara Minerals. Construction of the plant will already start in mid 2021 and the factory will be finished by 2023. By then the new lithium factory will produce around 43,000 tons of lithium per year. With this amount POSCO can directly and locally supply the lithium for up to 1,000,000 electric vehicles batteries. Building on this, POSCO is already planning to further expand the extraction of lithium so that by the end of 2030 over 220,000 tons of lithium can be directly extracted at Jeollanamdo.
Gwangyang in Jeollanamdo was the logical choice for POSCO as it has already been running a demo-factory in Gwangyang and is operating additional factories in the Gwangyang Bay Area. Just earlier this year in February POSCO Chemical has announced the 4th expansion of its battery cathode plant in Gwangyang. Therefore the extracted lithium can be directly processed at Gwangyang.
As one of the most important locations in EV production and research, Jeollanamdo is also hosting the yearly Yeonggwang e-Mobility EXPO in Yeonggwang. For further information click here.
POSCO Chemical, part of Korea’s steel giant POSCO, announced that it will expand to a 4th battery cathode plant in Gwangyang, Jeollanamdo in order to meet the huge demands in the electric vehicle (EV) battery market.
POSCO Chemical is one of the main tenant companies of the Main Industrial Complexes in Gwangyang Bay Area. Since 2019 it has been expanding its EV-battery-plants from originally 5,000-ton capacity. The 4th expansion will bring the capacity up to 100,000 tons.
The company will invest about 250 million US dollar in this project and expects the new plant to be operational by 2023. The expansion is part of POSCO’s new brand “e Autopos” which will produce exclusively steel parts and batteries for electric vehicles.
This expansion proves once again that Jeollanamdo plays a crucial part in Korea’s response to climate change and Korea’s growing Blue Economy.