LG Chem to build largest EV battery cathode plant in US

LG Chem announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State of Tennessee to build a new cathode manufacturing facility in Clarksville, with an investment of more than $3 billion.

The new facility in Clarksville, Tennessee will be the largest of its kind in the U.S. at 420 acres and aims to produce 120,000 tons of cathode material per year by 2027 to power 1.2 million pure electric vehicles with a range of 310 miles Power battery (500 km). Construction of the plant will start in the first quarter of next year and mass production will begin in the second half of 2025.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Secretary of Economic and Community Development Stuart McWalter and LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-chul attended the signing ceremony.

For LG Chem, Tennessee was the best choice because of its proximity to key customers, ease of raw material transportation, and active cooperation between state and local governments. The Tennessee facility enables LG Chem to proactively respond to the changing dynamics of the global battery materials market and pass legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). In addition to the benefits of investing in U.S. manufacturing, LG Chem envisions the Tennessee plant as a supply chain hub where material and recycling partners can collaborate to serve customers around the world.

The new plant will produce advanced NCMA cathode materials for next-generation electric vehicle batteries, which contain nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum for higher battery capacity and stability. NCMA cathode material is one of the most critical components that determine the capacity and lifespan of electric vehicle batteries. The Tennessee plant will employ LG Chem’s most advanced production technologies, including the ability to produce more than 10,000 tons of cathode material per line, the highest level in the industry. LG Chem first applied this technology to its fourth cathode manufacturing base in Cheongju, South Korea, with great success. The company also plans to implement its smart factory technology in Tennessee to automate the entire production process and establish a quality analysis and control system that will become the benchmark for all other cathode factories around the world.

The new facility will be designed with the environment and future needs of clean energy in mind. LG Chem will work with power providers in Tennessee to meet customers’ demand for more renewable energy, including battery and electric vehicle makers. The operation of the new facility will rely entirely on renewable energy provided by solar and hydroelectric power.

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