SK Energy’s R&D institute oozes of technological innovation. I felt smarter just by touring the grounds.

As one of the biggest Korean business conglomerates, SK Group has devoted plenty of resources to research and development of new technologies and business ventures. At the company’s institute in Daejeon, we were able to see the production and testing for SK Energy’s new lithium-ion battery business. The company certainly convinced us that they are on the cutting edge of the Electric Vehicle battery business. Although most of what we saw is “classified,” we did get to see the tests the company undertakes to gauge how much abuse the battery cells and entire battery system can take.

After our tour, which included several presentations by engineers, we got to take a ride in the EV and hybrid vehicles before lunch.

The several hundred employees on the campus (which includes dorms) eat lunch in the company cafeteria, where we dined on bibimbop.

Following our lunch, we went on a hike in the woods nearby, returned for some coffee, then headed out to the Korean Institute of Machinery and Materials, where the highlight of the visit was a ride on the magnetically levitating train. At KIMM, we also learned a bit about some of the testing they do on wind turbines, particularly on the blades of the rotors.

With an hour or so to kill before our train, we headed to a botanical garden where instead of looking at flora, we opted to visit a playground. Some of the group (who will remain unnamed) decided that no IRP trip would be complete without recess, and partook of the slides, swings and monkey bars.

But all good things must come to an end, and eventually, we shuttled back to the train station, caught the high-speed transportation back to Seoul where after some work on our project, we geared up for a night on the town.


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