South Korea’s Youlchon Chemical Company said it had won a contract worth US$1bn to supply Ultium Cells, the US based electric vehicle (EV) battery joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, with battery components over a period of six years.

Seoul-based Youlchon said it had agreed to supply high formability aluminium pouch films to be used in lithium-ion battery packs between 2023 and 2028.

The aluminium coating is used to protect critical components in lithium ion batteries, including anodes and cathodes, separators and electrolyte. The deal will help the South Korean EV battery industry reduce its dependence on Japanese made pouch films.

Youlchon is primarily a producer of plastic films for food packaging but in recent years has focused on the development of high formability pouch film materials for EV batteries with the support of LG Energy Solution.

The aluminium pouch film is around 20% thicker than existing products which allows it to be better formed into the required shapes or structures without cracking, improving battery performance.