Orbia's First LiPF6 Facility in North America Boosts EV Battery Production

Orbia's First LiPF6 Facility in North America Boosts EV Battery Production

Located in St. Gabriel, LA, the new facility will produce lithium hexafluorophosphate, vital electrolyte salt used in batteries.

Orbia Advance Corporation's new lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6) production facility in St. Gabriel, LA, marks a significant stride in North America's electric vehicle (EV) battery material supply chain, enhancing the region's clean energy prospects and economic growth.

U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm, during her visit to Orbia's fluorochemical production site Nov. 17, highlighted the pivotal development, praising Orbia's initiative as a "model for the nation," emphasizing its critical role in fortifying the North American supply chain for essential EV battery materials. 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards lauded Orbia's efforts as key drivers of the state's climate action goals and the broader national push towards EV production.

The project, which has received a $100 million grant from the DoE, involves the construction of North America's first lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6) manufacturing site. LiPF6 is a vital electrolyte salt used in lithium-ion batteries. This new facility will be built within the existing Orbia complex in St. Gabriel, capitalizing on a licensing agreement with technology leader Kanto Denka Kogyo.

"The economic opportunity in electrification is massive, and there is a pressing need to reduce emissions for the future," Orbia CEO Sameer Bharadwaj said in a statement, highlighting the facility's alignment with the Biden-Harris administration's vision for a secure battery materials supply chain.

Gregg Smith, president of Orbia Fluorinated Solutions, further elaborated on the company's comprehensive approach. Orbia's "mine to market" strategy ensures a secure supply of advanced battery materials, ranging from electrolyte salts to high-performance additives. This initiative also reinforces the company's commitment to decarbonization.

Orbia's expansion plans extend beyond the LiPF6 facility. Miki Oljaca, vice president of growth and technology at Orbia Fluorinated Solutions, shared plans for a joint venture with Solvay to build a second site in St. Gabriel. This site will produce intermediates for lithium-ion battery binding agent polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), further consolidating the company's leadership in the battery materials sector.

The community of St. Gabriel, with its skilled workforce and strategic location near major automotive manufacturers, plays a crucial role in this expansion. Orbia plans to create 200 new jobs and invest in local development through scholarships and training programs.

Projected to be operational by 2026, Orbia's LiPF6 production plant aims to produce 10,000 metric tons annually of battery-grade electrolyte salts. This capacity is expected to support the production of more than 1 million EVs annually in the U.S.

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