South Korea's SK Innovation to invest $30 mln in Solid Power

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The logo of SK Innovation is seen in front of its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

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SEOUL, Oct 28 (Reuters) - South Korea's SK Innovation (096770.KS) will invest $30 million in Ford Motor-backed solid-state battery developer Solid Power Inc, with an aim to jointly produce batteries, the companies said.

The South Korean battery maker, which supplies electric car batteries to carmakers including Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS), will buy shares in Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III, a shell company through which Solid Power plans to go public through a merger that will value the combined firm at about $1.2 billion.

"We expect our partnership with Solid Power will play a pivotal role in delivering higher energy, lower-cost batteries to power longer-range electric vehicles," SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun said in a press release.

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The South Korean company in September said it planned to invest 5.1 trillion won ($4.4 billion) to build battery plants in the United States.

Solid-state batteries are a potential game changer for electric vehicles (EV) because they can store more energy, charge faster and are safer than liquid lithium-ion batteries.

They are, however, more difficult and expensive to mass produce and more prone to cracking.

Manufacturers could use existing plants make solid-state batteries, Doug Campbell, the CEO of Solid State told Reuters. The company wanted to commercialise the technology by 2026, he added.

"A solid state battery can potentially enable a dramatically simpler and ultimately lower-cost battery pack," Campbell said.

($1 = 1,172.5200 won)

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Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Stephen Coates

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