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Orbia’s Fluorinated Solutions Business Koura Receives $100M U.S. Department of Energy Award
Funding supports domestic lithium-ion battery supply chain with proposed development of first U.S. manufacturing plant for lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6) in Louisiana
BOSTON, OCTOBER 19, 2022 – Orbia’s Fluorinated Solutions business Koura, a global leader in the development, manufacturing and supply of fluoroproducts, today announced it has received a $100 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the first set of projects funded by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and the electrical grid and for materials and components currently imported from other countries. This award supports state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery manufacturing for supply chain security and competitiveness.
Said Sameer Bharadwaj, CEO of Orbia, “This award marks an incredible milestone for our company and the U.S. renewable industry. Today, we are steering into the clean future and coming through on our purpose to advance life. With raw material assets, expertise in fluorinated chemistries and our sustainable innovation agenda, this grant will support us in achieving lithium-ion battery security, efficiency and performance.”
“A recognition of this caliber from the U.S. Department of Energy propels us forward to tackle the present challenge of the domestic supply chain for lithium-ion batteries,” said Gregg Smith, President of Orbia Fluorinated Solutions (Koura). “The future is powered by lithium-ion batteries. We are uniquely positioned to innovate with our ‘mine-to-market’ capability to meet modern needs for resilience and energy independence.”
The grant will enable Koura to build the first U.S. manufacturing plant for lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6) on the grounds of Koura’s existing fluorochemical production site in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. Once operational, the proposed plant will produce up to 10,000MT of LiPF6 per year, which is sufficient to support domestic production of more than one million full electric vehicles annually. Koura has operated its domestic fluorochemical plant in St. Gabriel since 1991 with a safe track record and strong community engagement.
A global leader in fluorinated solutions, Koura owns a vertically-integrated supply of fluorine in North America and produces and distributes fluoroproducts globally for a variety of applications. Fluorine is the primary component of LiPF6, which is used in all lithium-ion batteries as the electrolyte salt that enables the flow of lithium ions through the battery. Currently, there is no large-scale domestic production of LiPF6. The high cost of importing into the US and the lack of domestic manufacturing of LiPF6 has presented a critical risk to the lithium-ion supply chain.
“This is truly a remarkable time for manufacturing in America, as President Biden’s Agenda and historic investments supercharge the private sector to ensure our clean energy future is American-made,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Producing advanced batteries and components here at home will accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to meet the strong demand for electric vehicles, creating more good-paying jobs across the country.”
For this project, the $100 million award will be combined with an additional investment by Koura to construct and start-up a dedicated LiPF6 process line in a new building on Koura’s existing Louisiana manufacturing site.
Additionally, the proposed LiPF6 plant will continue to sustain the local economy in St. Gabriel, expanding employment at the facility by up to 80 new jobs while providing Koura the opportunity to expand its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) activities in the greater Baton Rouge region through offering job training, internship programs and scholarship funds.