Lotte Energy Materials, the South Korean copper foil manufacturer formerly known as Iljin Materials, said it was investing KRW7.9bn (US$6.2m) in Enwires, a French startup company developing silicon nanomaterials for lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage systems (ESS).

Lotte Energy Materials, renamed after it was acquired by Lotte Chemical last year, formally signed an equity investment agreement with Enwires in Seoul over the weekend. According to local reports, the funds would be used to build an experimental plant to produce battery materials based on the French company’s silicon composite material (Si-C series) technology.

The plant would be managed by a joint venture between Enwires and Lotte Venture, Lotte Group’s venture capital company. Enwires, based in Grenoble, aims to begin mass production in 2027. The company claimed it had developed a new production process to synthesise silicon nanowires and composites for battery components including electrodes, anodes and cathodes. The silicon-based materials were said to ‘significantly’ enhance power density and speed recharging times of lithium-ion batteries.