Apr 18, 2022 - Economy & Business

Loan commitment could bump U.S. battery market

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office (LPO) on Monday announced a conditional commitment to lend up to $107 million to expand production capacity for a critical minerals plant in Louisiana.

Why it matters: The loan, if finalized, would mark the first in more than a decade from the office's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program.

  • It would also be ATVM's first loan to support a supply chain manufacturing project, the LPO said.

What's happening: The loan would expand the production capacity at the Syrah Vidalia Facility, in Vidalia, Louisiana.

  • The facility is owned by Syrah Technologies, LLC, a subsidiary of an Australian firm.
  • The expansion would enable the Vidalia Facility to produce more graphite-based active anode material for EV batteries.

Of note: Graphite for the facility would be sourced from a mining and processing operation in Balama, Mozambique, which is also owned and controlled by Syrah Technologies’ parent-owner, LPO said.

  • This would make the Syrah Vidalia Facility the first vertically integrated, large-scale producer of active anode material outside of China.

Requests for comment from the Department of Energy and Syrah were not immediately returned.

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