- Chemical maker Koura is exploring an $800 million investment in two manufacturing projects to expand lithium battery component production in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, the state’s economic development agency announced last month.
- Half the investment would go toward building a facility to produce about 11,000 tons of lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6) a year, an ingredient that supports the flow of electricity through lithium-ion batteries.
- The remaining $400 million would go toward constructing a second production facility that could produce up to 44,000 tons of the refrigerant R-142b a year. The chemical is used in polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), a form of PFAS used as a binding agent in lithium-ion battery production.
If Koura’s project moves forward, it will set up the company to support the manufacturing of 1.7 million EVs a year, according to the release. Koura is a subsidiary of Mexico-based chemical manufacturer Orbia.
The LiPF6 facility was initially announced last October when the company received a $100 million grant from the Department of Energy through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. The construction of the two facilities is expected to start in 2025 with operations beginning in the following year. The new sites would create 100 more jobs with an average yearly salary of $80,000.
“Expanding our strategically located site in St. Gabriel will provide new opportunities in U.S. energy security while safeguarding existing jobs,” Director of Growth Operations Erick Comeaux said in a statement.
Koura did not respond for comment in time for publication.
Orbia has been expanding its presence in the EV battery market. Earlier this month, the company finalized a joint venture agreement with chemical maker Solvay for two PVDF production facilities in St. Gabriel and Augusta, Georgia.
Last year, the two companies announced they were investing $850 million to build a plant in Augusta to manufacture EV battery components, including binders and separator coatings, made from PVDF.
Demand for PVDF has increased as the EV market grows, according to a 2022 report from Prismane Consulting. The PVDF market was valued at $1.2 billion last year and is expected to reach $4 billion by 2032.