Biden administration invests $102 million in electric vehicle processing plant in Louisiana

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  • The Biden administration continues to push for electric vehicle development, securing billions in supply chain development loans.
  • The Department of Energy provided a $102.1 million ATVM loan to Syrah Technology, which will build a graphite-based active anode material processing plant in Vidalia, Louisiana.
  • Following an energy deal reached in the Senate, Congress will soon vote on adding tax credits for new and used electric vehicles, $20 billion in manufacturing renewal loans and 2 billions of dollars in cash grants to retool existing manufacturing facilities..

    Electric vehicle production is a costly business for automakers and one that is constantly evolving as the scientific bandwidth and financial support behind electric vehicle technology continues to grow. As the Biden administration shifts its focus to clean energy, with its goal of 50% all-electric or plug-in hybrid car sales by 2030, the Department of Energy has approved a $102.1 million loan. dollars in an effort to accelerate battery production and expand manufacturing. facilities. Provided to Syrah Technology LLC, the loan will be used to build a graphite-based active anode material (AAM) processing facility in Vidalia, Louisiana, a plant designed to produce enough raw material to supply 2.5 million of electric vehicles by 2040.

    “This is the first deployment in the United States approaching the scale we need to achieve the President’s goal of having half of all auto sales in the United States be electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids by 2030,” said Jigar Shah, director of the Loan Programs Office at the US DOE. In addition to vehicle sales goals, President Biden has set a goal to decarbonize the electric sector by 2035 and the entire US economy by 2050.

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    Whether 2.5 million EVs are produced or not, injecting more AAM into the EV battery space is a critical step to keep EV supply chains moving. Lithium-ion batteries rely on graphite as the main material for one of the two electrodes in its anode composition. Graphite is a popular material for battery construction due to its abundance, low cost, and long life. Even so, representatives from the DOE and Syrah Technology have acknowledged that it is possible that graphite’s suitability will evolve in the electric vehicle arena.

    Beyond the potential for increased EV production, this loan signals a big shift in the U.S. EV market. Syrah Technology was able to apply for this loan through an expanded Department of Energy program called the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, an initiative that was last used by Tesla in 2010. The Syrah Vidalia facility represents the first large-scale AAM manufacturer outside of China.

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    “While this is an important milestone for Syrah, it is also important for the U.S. supply chain for this material and the development of the battery and electric vehicle manufacturing sector,” said Steven Wells. , CFO of Syrah Resources. “The Vidalia Syrah plant represents the only vertically integrated natural graphite active anode material facility outside of China, which we have spent many years developing and which is increasingly recognized by the government, as well as by customers.

    With $15.1 billion available from the DOE’s Loan Program Office, there is real potential to harness private sector innovation in federally funded clean energy projects. It is also the first such loan focused on a supply chain manufacturing project, although it looks like more may be approved soon. Shah explained that the ATVM lending program has recently received over $20 billion in loan applications for programs and facilities related to the battery supply chain.

    “That’s exactly why the president called for tax credits to lower the price of electric vehicles at the dealership so they’re affordable,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. “And part of that is reducing supply chain risk and bringing the full supply chain to the United States, in partnership with the government through programs like what the program office of ready.”

    In an effort to upgrade America’s electrical infrastructure, Congress recently approved $7.5 billion worth of chargers, and the DOE has pledged to invest $2.5 billion in Ultium cell production facilities. of General Motors in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan. DOE officials also said the expanded authority given to ATVM by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act would allow the program to go beyond light-duty vehicles to include medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Eventually, the organization also hopes to help subsidize the expansion of electrical manufacturing in the aerospace and marine industries.

    This news follows the EV credit expansion agreement initiated by the Senate. If passed, the deal would establish a $4,000 tax credit for used electric vehicles and provide an additional $20 billion in manufacturing-focused loans. Other key features of the bill include a new, expanded tax credit for electric vehicles and $2 billion in cash grants to turn existing ICE plants into EV-ready facilities. As the DOE considers additional loan applications and Senate approval makes its way through Congress, the potential for additional federally subsidized EV battery production and processing seems likely, at least through 2024.

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