ENTEK announces financing for lithium-ion battery separator plant

ENTEK's new plant is expected to generate 763 construction and 635 operational jobs, focusing on local and displaced labor from other industries.
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ENTEK, the only U.S. company producing “wet process” lithium-ion battery separators, disclosed that it received a conditional pledge of up to $1.2 billion in the form of a direct loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO). This funding will be used for a new plant in Terre Haute, Indiana, which will manufacture lithium-ion battery separators. lithium-ion battery separators for electric vehicles (EVs).

ENTEK strengthens battery supply chain

This project will strengthen and nationalize the lithium-ion battery cell supply chain, facilitating the production of batteries for advanced technology vehicles.

According to the company’s CEO, Larry Keith, “There has never been a more exciting time to be a manufacturer in the battery industry,” highlighting the company’s 40 years of dedication to innovation and productivity in the sector.

A battery separator is a microporous membrane that is placed between the anode and cathode, preventing short circuits and allowing ionic conduction through the electrolyte. The company manufactures both ceramic-coated and non-ceramic-coated separators, which are essential for the performance and safety of lithium-ion batteries. lithium-ion batteries. .

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Richard Pekala, the company’s chief technology officer, stresses that the company’s expertise in equipment design and manufacturing, process technologies and materials science puts it in a unique position to lead this expansion.

Electric vehicle manufacturing

Based on the current formats preferred by cell manufacturers, the new plant will support the production of approximately 1.9 million midsize electric vehicles or 1.3 million eSUVs. This project will also contribute to meeting the domestic content standards established by the Inflation Reduction Act under the 30D Clean Vehicle Credit. .

In addition, ENTEK has agreements to sell its separators to lithium-ion battery manufacturers for energy storage applications. energy storage applications being a supplier to KORE Power. Lindsay Gorrill, CEO of KORE Power, emphasizes the importance of this collaboration to ensure a reliable local supply of battery separators for its Arizona gigafactory, KOREPlex.

Clean energy employment and training initiative

The new plant will generate 763 construction jobs and 635 operational jobs, with a focus on hiring local workers, including those displaced from other manufacturing industries. This company has partnered with Ivy Tech Community College and other institutions to develop training programs and attract a skilled workforce.

Lea Anne Crooks, chancellor of Ivy Tech at Terre Haute, highlights collaboration with ENTEK to align educational programs with the needs of the clean energy industry clean energy .

This project aligns with President Biden’s investment strategy to repatriate key manufacturing technologies and meet the goal of having half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 be zero-emission. It also supports the president’s vision for a more sustainable transportation system and the total reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by 2050.

Financing for manufacturing

Domestic EV production has increased due to market growth and financial incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. ENTEK aims to be the first U.S. supplier of end-to-end “wet process” battery separators for the EV market in North America.

Although this conditional commitment reflects DOE’s intention to finance the project, the company must comply with certain technical, legal, environmental and financial conditions before the financing is formalized.

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Source and photo: ENTEK

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