May 9, 2023 - 12:43 pm

Tesla kicks off lithium refinery construction in Texas

Tesla has officially begun construction of its own lithium refinery in Texas and plans to complete it next year. By 2025, Tesla plans to produce enough battery-grade lithium hydroxide for one million electric cars at the site near Corpus Christi.

In the future, the plant will also process lithium from recycled batteries and production waste. Tesla had announced the lithium refinery at its investor day in March 2023, citing an annual processing capacity of 50 GWh.

The first reports of such a plant on the Gulf Coast came as early as autumn 2022 – according to information at the time, Tesla hoped to be able to break ground in the fourth quarter. The groundbreaking ceremony has now been delayed by about half a year, but the company is still following a tight schedule: As Tesla manager Drew Baglino indicated in April, parts of the plant are to be put into operation this year.

“This investment is critical to our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy and represents our efforts to aggressively increase the supply of battery-grade lithium hydroxide available in North America,” Tesla wrote.

In the facility itself, the delivered material will not be processed into battery-grade lithium hydroxide using conventional methods, but, as Baglino announced in April, with a “sulphate-free refining process with reduced process costs, without acid or alkali reagents and with less grey energy”. The gist of this is also confirmed in the announcement, and another of Baglino’s hints is also elaborated on: The by-product of this plant, a mixture of sand and limestone, can be used to make building materials, putting waste streams to good use.

Tesla states that the plant will later employ 250 people full-time, and nearly 1,000 jobs will be created for construction. The 250 full-time employees, including production technicians, plant managers and engineers, are to be partly trained and recruited locally. To this end, Tesla is investing in several educational projects in the region.

Tesla will probably process the lithium hydroxide refined in the USA into battery cells itself in its US battery factories. In addition to the 4680 pilot line in Fremont, California, Tesla has battery production with Panasonic in Nevada and its own 4680 cell production in Texas. The Giga Mexico, announced in March, is also to be expanded later to include its own cell production.

electrek.cotechcrunch.comtesla.comtexas.gov

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Found on electrive.com
https://www.electrive.com/2023/05/09/tesla-kicks-off-lithium-refinery-construction-in-texas/
09.05.2023 12:29