■ SK Enmove plans to pioneer lubricants for electric vehicles and thermal management markets by 2040, aspiring to become a global electrical efficiency solution provider
■ The company also enhances ZIC products for internal combustion engines to secure market share by expanding to markets in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia
■ SK Enmove CEO Park Sang-kyu said, “We will secure our future growth engine with the ZIC brand and transform into an energy saving company”
SK Enmove expands its lubricant brand ZIC as it aspires to go beyond its internal combustion engine (ICE) oil business and become the global leader in the electrical efficiency market by 2040, which is estimated to be worth KRW 54 trillion.
On September 5, SK Enmove held “ZIC Brand Day” at Walkerhill Hotel in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, to announce ZIC’s future vision. Over 150 participants, including SK Enmove CEO Park Sang-kyu, company employees, and media representatives, attended the event.
SK Enmove’s ZIC, which began as the first lubricant brand in Korea’s oil refining industry in 1995, plans to provide all fluids* related to electrical efficiency, the core of future energy.
(*)Fluids: A term that encompasses liquid and gas, and its shape has not been determined but is characterized by its flowing properties.
SK Enmove CEO Park Sang-kyu said, “ZIC brand will not only focus on its existing engine oil products but will also lead the way for the new energy efficiency market.” He also emphasized that SK Enmove will transform itself beyond being a valuable and the No.1 company in the global lubricant market.
■ Goal to become the global top-tier of the electric vehicle lubricant and thermal management market by 2040
Since launching its lubricant business for the first time in Korea in 1963, SK Enmove has grown into a global lubricant company by leveraging its pioneering business insight and technological prowess. Based on these strengths, the area where SK Enmove will venture into with ZIC is the electrical efficiency market. The company plans to supply products under the name “ZIC e-Flo” to enhance electrical efficiency in all areas where electrical energy is utilized, including electric vehicles, data centers, and electric vehicle batteries.
The market that is already emerging in the energy efficiency area is the lubricants for electric vehicles (EVs). According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF 2022), EVs are expected to make up 48% of the total number of vehicles by 2040, with the EV lubricant market for electric vehicles expected to grow KRW 12 trillion in 2040.
Based on its competitive edge in raw materials and technological prowess, SK Enmove aims to become one of the global top-tier companies in the EV lubricant market by 2040. As the EV lubricant industry is a sector where industrial standards have not been established, accumulating product supply performance is crucial for earning customer trust. SK Enmove has developed lubricants for EVs since 2013 and supplied them. In addition, the company has secured raw material competitiveness through Group III lube base oil, the world’s No.1 high-quality lube base oil with a 40% market share.
CEO Park discussed the future of lubricants in the electric vehicle era, noting that the expectation of a decline in demand for lubricants might be too premature. He stressed that electric vehicles, too, need specialized lubricants to boost their fuel efficiency** by cooling the motor and reducing gear friction. Park underscored SK Enmove’s leadership in this market, highlighting its competitive edge in Group III lube base oil and advanced technology.
(**)Fuel efficiency: It refers to the distance that can be traveled per kilowatt-hour (km/kWh), and it is a concept equivalent to the fuel efficiency for internal combustion engine vehicles.
Furthermore, SK Enmove is actively pursuing opportunities in thermal management, a pivotal growth sector within the electrical efficiency market. As electricity consumption and equipment density continue to rise, effective thermal management for heat control and stable power supply will become increasingly vital. SK Enmove anticipates substantial growth in the immersion cooling segment of the thermal management market, which encompasses data centers, energy storage systems (ESS), and electric vehicle batteries. This will ultimately project an expansion from less than KRW 1 trillion in 2020 to a significant KRW 42 trillion by 2040.
Liquid immersion cooling (LIC) is a next-generation thermal management technology that involves directly submerging products into cooling fluids. In the case of data centers, the total electrical efficiency can be improved by more than 30% compared to air-cooling. SK Enmove plans to position itself as a global leader in this prospective LIC market by developing thermal management fluids based on Group III base oils for enhanced cooling efficiency and stability. The company has already made an equity investment worth USD 25 million in GRC, a US-based company specializing in data center LIC systems, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Dell Technologies, an American PC manufacturing and IT solution company, for the commercialization of LIC technologies.
In addition to data centers, the company is also developing thermal management fluids tailored to EV batteries and energy storage systems (ESS). Furthermore, the company is working on developing refrigerant fluids that could aid in improving the heating and cooling performance of EVs.
CEO Park stated, “With the explosive increase in data usage, electrical efficiency through thermal management will emerge as a key business point in the future.” He added, “Based on SK Enmove’s No.1 high-quality lube base oil global competitiveness and R&D capabilities, we will also explore new markets such as liquid immersion cooling and thermal management.”
■ Strengthening ZIC products for internal combustion engines to secure market share in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia
SK Enmove also continues to bolster the competitiveness of ZIC products for ICEs. While electric vehicles are becoming increasingly prevalent in Europe and the US, demand for ICE vehicles is on the rise in Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and the Middle East. According to a Kline Finished Lubricant Report, India is expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% in demand for ICE oils from 2022 to 2040. SK Enmove aims to expand its ZIC market share by capitalizing by discovering new non-motorized markets.
The driving force of this market share expansion strategy is ZIC’s competitive edge facilitated by premium low-viscosity engine oils using Group III lube base oil. The company has been selling low-viscosity engine oils known for their fuel efficiency and engine protection, since 2008. With strengthened environmental regulations worldwide, the demand for premium low-viscosity engine oils is expected to rise. The Kline Report also projects a 12.7% increase in demand for Group III or above lube base oil, which serve as the materials for low-viscosity engine oils, by 2040 compared to 2020.
Last year, the company rebranded itself by changing its name from SK Lubricants, which intuitively demonstrated the company’s business area, to SK Enmove, representing a new identity as an Energy Saving Company. This change aims to expand the company’s business areas by focusing on fuel efficiency in existing businesses and electrical efficiency in its new businesses.
SK Enmove CEO Park said, “SK Enmove has maintained profitability for 14 years since the spin-off of the lubricant business from SK Energy in 2009. We’ve played a significant role in making people’s use of energy longer and safer in their daily lives,” and added, “In other words, this is energy efficiency, and future fuel efficiency is the only solution. We will solidify our position in the global market for our value as an energy saving company.”
(Photo 1) SK Enmove CEO Park Sang-kyu presented ZIC’s future vision during ZIC Brand Day held at Grand Walkerhill, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, on September 5 (local time).
(Photo 2) (From the left) Seo Sang-hyuk, Head of e-Fluids Marketing Office, Lee Sang-min, Head of Global Business Development Office, Lee Jung-woo, Head of e-Fluids Business Management Office, and Huh Jung-wook, Head of Corporate Planning & Management, are participating in a live talk at the ZIC Brand Day held at Grand Walkerhill, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, on September 5 (local time).
(Photo 3) ZIC engine oil products
(Photo 4) ZIC, lubricants for electric vehicles, powers an electric vehicle model
(Photo 5) A data center server immersed in ZIC for liquid immersion cooling.
(Reference 1) SK Enmove Annual Performance
(Reference 2) History of SK Enmove