Chemical company Albemarle will spend at least $180 million establishing a technology park in North Carolina, to accelerate production of advanced lithium materials, according to a release last Tuesday.
The manufacturer acquired a site in Charlotte that will house a facility designed to explore new ways to make lithium. Innovations from the technology park are expected to enhance lithium recovery, improve production methods and develop new forms of lithium. Completion of the campus is set for 2026, with initial occupancy slated for 2025.
Albemarle is working on ways to help electric vehicles “go farther,” Glen Merfeld, vice president and CTO of the company’s lithium business, said in a conversation on the new site. The ability to make and use more advanced forms of lithium could enhance EV battery performance by extending battery life, range and energy density.
“Albemarle Technology Park is part of our mine-to-market strategy to invest in the U.S. EV battery supply chain and to be a leader in advanced lithium materials for next-generation energy storage,” CEO Kent Masters said in a statement.
The chemical company was awarded nearly $13 million in economic incentives from North Carolina. The incentive package is part of a Jobs Development Investment Grant, and supports Albemarle’s investment to convert a former IMB and Flextronics facility into its new technology park.
However, Albemarle said state incentives were only one factor driving investment in the region.
Charlotte is also home to the company’s headquarters and existing operations, Merfeld said, so having its activities centralized became a key part of Albemarle’s plan for a “lithium ecosystem.” Equally important, is the proximity to the fast-growing EV supply chain in the Southeast.
“We’re seeing investments in building out battery manufacturing capabilities in the region, they become our customers and our partners,” he added.
By neighboring its own operations and potential partners, the company said it expects Albemarle Technology Park will become a “lithium innovation hub that anchors technology leadership in the Southeast U.S., where the EV industry is rapidly expanding.”