LG Energy and SK Innovation

On April 11, LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation, two South Korean electric vehicle battery makers, came to an agreement that ended a trade dispute and will now allow one of the companies to start manufacturing their batteries in Georgia.

President Joe Biden plans to increase the number of electric vehicles to help with climate change as part of his clean energy agenda. As written in an article by the Associated Press, “The companies pledged to work together to strengthen the EV battery supply chain in the U.S. and support the Biden administration’s efforts to advance clean energy policies, including electric vehicles.”

There has been a recent push to change to using more electric-based vehicles due to their effects on the environment.

“It will allow greener production of energy at source or possibly even carbon capture (it will be difficult to move away from oil/methane anytime soon),” said Dr. Frank Robinson, assistant professor of physics and director of the engineering 3+2 program at Sacred Heart University. “We have a better chance of controlling CO2 emission if it all comes out at a few locations, rather than being spat out all over the planet.”

The Associated Press added that in addition to the deal made between LG Energy and SK Innovation, “The commission said SK could supply batteries to Ford Motor Co. for four years and to Volkswagen AG for two years. The decision had jeopardized a $2.6 billion battery factory that SK is building in Commerce, Georgia.”

“Batteries still have very low energy density (energy per kg) compared to gasoline, so they need to be very heavy and take up a lot of the car. They still take much longer to charge than fill up a tank of gas,” said Robinson.

“I think we’re definitely headed towards electric cars becoming common, but with time,” said sophomore Chris Gallagher. “I don’t see an issue with it because it has been proven to be a lot more beneficial to the environment, and I think it’s a positive thing that steps are being taken to produce more vehicles like this to be used.”

Information provided by the Associated Press shows the need for a settlement like this to meet the demand for electric vehicle batteries the country will soon have.

“Switching the U.S. fleet of roughly 279 million largely gas-powered cars and trucks to electric vehicles is a focus of Biden’s infrastructure plan, with $174 billion allocated for EV incentives, a half-million charging stations and development of a domestic supply chain,” wrote the Associated Press. “Experts say it’s possible the U.S. will run short of electric vehicle batteries if it doesn’t set up its own network of parts suppliers.”

With alternative forms of power and fuel constantly being searched for, it seems that rechargeable batteries are the method getting the most attention right now.

“While the world tries to move away from fossil fuels, there needs to be a way of storing and transporting energy produced by renewables such as sun and wind, as it is not always sunny or windy,” said Robinson. “Other possible energy sources such as methane clathrates, nuclear fusion or fracking all need a way of transporting and storing energy. Improvements in battery technology seems the best way forward.”

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