US DOE could help finance Entek’s separator manufacturing plans

Entek could receive 1.2 billion dollars from the US Department of Energy (DOE). If finalised, it will finance Entek's planned separator production facility in the US state of Indiana.

Image: Entek

According to the DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO), the loan commitment is still conditional. Certain “certain technical, legal, environmental, and financial conditions” must be met before the funds can be paid out. However, the US government agency does not elaborate on this point.

Entek is looking to manufacture lithium-ion battery separators in Terre Haute, Indiana, saying it will invest 1.5 billion dollars in the new facility. It is scheduled to start operations between 2025 and 2027. “Based on current form factors chosen by cell manufacturers, the project will support roughly 1.9 million mid-size EVs or 1.3 million eSUVs,” the LPO states.

The latter also gives some additional details about the factor. For instance “the separators produced will be able to accommodate all existing lithium-ion EV battery chemistries, including NMC, NCA, LMFP, and LFP.” Moreover, the “project is expected to create 763 construction jobs and 635 operational jobs.” Job creation is, in fact, an important issue tied to the loan agreement. As the LPO points out, it works with borrowers to “implement a strong Community Benefits Plan (CBP).” In the case of Entek, that includes hiring local workers who lost their jobs in other manufacturing industries. The company has also forged partnerships with various colleges to help with local recruitment.

The US Department of Energy underlines that Entek’s planned separator production “supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to expand and secure reliable, environmentally sustainable clean energy domestic supply chains key to reaching the country’s ambitious climate goals while reducing reliance on economic competitors like China.” It will help manufacturers in the US fulfil the requirements of the Clean Vehicle Credit, meaning their vehicles would qualify for government incentives, essentially making them more attractive to buyers.


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