Next to semiconductors, batteries are yet another source of pride for the Republic of Korea. These days, batteries enable us to overcome temporal and spatial limits. Storing immense amount of energy in small spaces, batteries are dramatically transforming our daily lives through electric vehicles, drones, robots, machine tools, cordless vacuum cleaners, laptops, mobile phones and smart watches. The era when even ships, airplanes and trains are powered by batteries is coming.
Batteries are making a meteoric rise to the center of future industries. If we think of semiconductors as the brain that processes information, batteries can be likened to the heart that drives devices. The age of the “Battery of Things” is coming – when the whole world is connected wirelessly through the Internet of Things and everything is powered by batteries. The key to achieving carbon neutrality also lies in batteries. The advancement of battery technology – the crux of electric vehicles and other future means of transportation – is the main driving force for transforming Korea’s economy into a pacesetter.
Today, here in Chungcheongbuk-do Province, the center of Korea’s battery industry, I am pleased to present to the people our K-battery development strategy for a greater take-off. Along with the university presidents and students who envision their country as a battery leader, joining us today are CEOs of battery manufacturers – LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation – as well as representatives from businesses that need batteries; companies producing materials, parts and equipment; relevant associations; and financial institutions. The ruling Democratic Party of Korea’s Policy Committee Chairperson Park Wan-joo and other lawmakers are also with us. I am grateful to everyone.
I hope today’s event will become an opportunity to pool all the capabilities of businesses, universities, the central and local governments and the National Assembly for the battery industry to take yet another leap forward.
The global battery market has doubled in size over the last five years. It is projected to surpass the memory chip market in 2025 and grow eight-fold from its present size, topping US$350 billion in sales. This constitutes a tremendous opportunity and a challenge at the same time.
With competition to secure global supply chains intensifying, the United States and European countries are starting full-fledged efforts to foster their own battery makers, going beyond attracting investments. One after another, global electric vehicle manufacturers are declaring that they will manufacture their own batteries. With the acceleration of technological innovation, businesses are going all out to develop all-solid-state; lithium-sulfur; lithium-metal; and other safer, lighter next-generation batteries.
In 2011, Korea rose to No.1 in terms of global market share for small-sized batteries, overtaking Japan. We are competing fiercely with China to take the lead in mid- to large-sized batteries as well. Our goal is obvious: to become the undisputed No.1 country for batteries by 2030.
Our businesses were the first to take bold initiatives. LG Energy Solution has expanded its existing factory and will break ground today for its second plant in Ochang. LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation will join forces with SMEs to invest more than 40 trillion won by 2030. With respect and encouragement, I applaud the courage of our business leaders who are always taking on challenges a step ahead of others.
The Government will firmly support Korean companies’ efforts through the K-battery development strategy to be unveiled today.
First, we will provide unprecedented investment incentives.
We will designate batteries as a national strategic technology along with semiconductors and vaccines and strengthen tax incentives by allowing up to 50 percent deductions for R&D investments and up to 20 percent for facility investments. A 1.5 trillion won program to provide special financial support for K-batteries will also be activated.
Second, we will secure next-generation battery technology as soon as possible.
Lithium-sulfur batteries will be commercialized by 2025, all-solid-state batteries by 2027 and lithium-metal batteries by 2028. To this end, large-scale R&D projects worth over 500 billion will be carried out, and a next-generation battery park will be created to provide comprehensive support for research, empirical assessment and the nurturing of professionals.
Third, we will help create new markets for batteries.
Along with commercializing flying cars in 2025, we will accelerate the low-carbon, eco-friendly transitioning of various sectors, including ships, construction machinery and railroads. A new service will also be introduced for the leasing or replacing of electric vehicle batteries.
Fourth, we will build an industrial ecosystem of solidarity and cooperation.
In a bid to secure key raw materials in a stable manner, we will work closely together with countries rich in mineral resources while increasing support for the private sector’s overseas mineral resource development projects.
We will certainly solve the problems linked to Korea’s dependence on overseas technologies related to materials, parts and equipment and a shortage of trained professionals. Intensive support will be provided for cooperative R&D projects so that large business groups with battery manufacturing units can develop core technologies together with SME and middle-market materials, parts and equipment companies. Collaboration among universities, human resources training institutes, industry and the Government will help educate more than 1,100 professionals every year to meet the needs of businesses. Taking it a step further, we will actively support the establishment of a strong alliance between the battery industry and those companies in need of batteries.
Today, three MOUs for mutually beneficial cooperation will be signed: a solidarity and cooperation MOU among industry, universities and research institutions for next-generation battery development; an innovation fund formation MOU for rechargeable battery R&D; and a solidarity and cooperation MOU for post-use battery recycling. Industry, academia and research institutions will work together and the Government, large companies and financial institutions will jointly create a fund worth more than 80 billion won in a bid to support technology development by battery-related materials, parts and equipment businesses. Related industries and the central and local governments will work closely together for the recycling of post-use batteries. I am confident that the power of our battery industry will become even stronger through mutual benefit and cooperation.
The Republic of Korea’s economy has advanced by turning changes in the global market into opportunities. Now, the battery industry will be at the forefront of those efforts. Like our semiconductor industry, it will surely turn into another success, thereby helping build a greater future for a Republic of Korea that leads the world.