Thailand's Energy Absolute (EA), founded by Thai energy billionaire Somphote Ahunai, has launched a study into electric vehicle lithium-ion battery recycling ahead of plans to begin production in the country next year.

The three-year study will be conducted with the collaboration of engineers at Chulalongkorn University and is designed to provide EA with in-depth battery recycling technology before the company goes ahead with the next phase of its EV battery manufacturing expansion in 2023.

EA's local subsidiary Amita Technology Thailand is already scheduled to begin production in 2021 at a THB6bn (US$191m) facility in Chachoengsao which will have the capacity to produce one gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion batteries per year.

The facility will be the first lithium-ion EV battery plant in South-east Asia. The next phase of expansion will bring Amita Technology Thailand's annual production capacity to 50 gigawatts-hours, with the company targeting export markets.

Amita Technology Thailand was established after EA acquired a 77% stake in Taiwanese battery producer Amita Technologies Inc for THB3bn in 2018, along with its lithium-ion manufacturing expertise and its STOBA (self-terminated oligomers with hyper-branched architecture) technology – a hyper-branched polymer that can suppress electron and ion conduction if something goes wrong.

EA aims to dramatically bring down the cost of electric vehicles in the country by significantly increasing local production capacity. The company has also invested in a large recharging network across Thailand.