One of the largest lithium producers globally, Albermarle Corp, announced plans Wednesday to make Chester County, South Carolina home to its new $1.3 billion Mega-Flex lithium processing facility. The plant, once open, is expected to support the production of roughly 2.4 million EVs each year.
Albermarle announces $1.3B Mega Flex lithium plant in SC
With over $7.3 billion in net sales last year, up 120% from 2021, Albemarle expanded its position as a leader in the lithium market, with demand for electric vehicles climbing at a record pace.
Albermarle expects the rapid growth to continue as the auto industry shift to fully electric, zero-emission vehicles to accelerate over the next several years. As a result, the company sees lithium demand growing by nearly 400% by 2030.
To take advantage of the movement, Albermarle is leveraging its leading position to support over 100 new projects needed to sustain the growing demand.
The company develops and manufactures low-cost lithium compounds such as lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide used in electric vehicle batteries.
With the US looking to achieve a 50% EV share by 2030, up from around 6% this past year, Albermarle said it was planning for a massive lithium processing center in the US that would be capable of processing 100,000 tonnes of annual capacity in the Southeast.
Looking for somewhere with rail access and a major port, Albermarle has selected Chester County, SC, with an initial investment of at least $1.3 billion.
The “Mega-Flex” refers to the facility’s ability to process different types of lithium feedstock, including from recycled batteries.
Albermarle expects the new SC plant to initially produce 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide annually, potentially expanding up to 100,000 metric tons – enough for around 2.4 million EVs annually.
In October, the lithium leader revealed it had been awarded nearly $150 million as part of the first set of projects funded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure law to expand domestic EV battery production.
In addition, Albermarle says the facility supports the Inflation Reduction Act, passed last August, to incentivize the production of critical EV battery materials in North America.
Albermarle CEO said at the release:
This facility will help increase the production of U.S.-based lithium resources to fuel the clean energy revolution while bringing us closer to our customers as the supply chain is built out in North America.
The nearly 800-acre site is expected to create over 300 new jobs and 1,500 construction jobs pending permit approvals. Construction is slated to begin late next year.