LG Innotek, a parts manufacturing arm of LG Group, is betting on thermoelectric semiconductors to power its future growth.
The company has recently announced that it developed a thermoelectric semiconductor that has cooling and heating functions. It can control the temperature without refrigerants or hot wires. It is also environmentally friendly as it can turn waste heat into electric power.
LG Innotek’s thermoelectric semiconductor uses a polycrystalline material that has 2.5 times higher intensity than the existing single crystal material. It consumes up to 30 percent less power than the latter.
Kwon Il-geun, chief technology officer (CTO) of LG Innotek, said at the company’s research and development (R&D) campus in Magok-dong, Seoul on June 20, “We expect to post 200 billion won to 300 billion won (US$180.02 million to 270.03 million) in thermoelectric semiconductor sales five years later.” He said sales of 200 billion won (US$180.02 million) would correspond to about 20 percent of the global market.
The company has started establishing a new thermoelectric semiconductor production line at its Gumi plant. When the line starts operation, the company will be able to secure a competitive edge in designing and production of the new semiconductor.
Currently, thermoelectric semiconductors are being used to produce home appliances. LG Electronics’ wine refrigerator released last year and bedside refrigerator to be launched in the second half of this year are cases in point. LG Innotek is planning to first focus on home appliances, including water purifiers, and then the waste heat generation market.
Kwon said, “We will start mass production the thermoelectric semiconductors for ship waste heat generation business between 2021 and 2022. Autonomous vehicle is also a potential market for thermoelectric semiconductors.”