Groundbreaking in Clarksville, Tennessee
LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s top chemical company, has begun construction of its first cathode production facility in the United States. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in Clarksville, Tennessee. This move aligns with LG Chem’s ambition to become a dominant player in the global battery materials market.
Investment and Production Capacity
The company plans to invest approximately 2 trillion won ($1.6 billion) initially. This investment will establish a plant capable of producing 60,000 tons of cathodes annually by 2026. The output is estimated to be sufficient to power 600,000 electric vehicles (EVs), each with a range of 500 kilometers per charge.
*Strategic Location and Size
The Tennessee facility, spanning a 1.7 million-square-meter area, is strategically located near key customers, including Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between LG and General Motors Co.
Cathode Production and Supply
LG Chem’s US plant is set to focus on producing high nickel NCMA (nickel, cobalt, manganese, aluminum) cathodes, with mass production expected to begin in 2026. The plant will primarily supply cathodes to Ultium and General Motors, as well as Toyota, as per recent agreements.
Compliance with US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
The new facility aims to adhere to the US Inflation Reduction Act’s guidelines, ensuring that its production qualifies for tax incentives. To this end, LG Chem plans to use minerals and precursors sourced from countries having free trade agreements with the US.
Vision for Battery Material Sales
LG Chem’s initiative is part of its broader strategy to increase its battery materials sales to 30 trillion won by 2030. The company is focusing on diversifying its customer base beyond its subsidiary, LG Energy Solution.
Smart and Sustainable Operations
The Tennessee plant, envisioned as a smart factory, will operate entirely on renewable energy sources, including solar and hydropower. This commitment underscores LG Chem’s dedication to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in its operations.