Solvay to build largest NA production facility for EV materials

Solvay to build largest NA production facility for EV materials

Solvay, based in Brussels, Belgium, has announced its plans to construct a new battery-grade PVDF facility in Augusta, Georgia, which will be the largest North American production facility for electric vehicle materials. More than half of U.S. car sales are projected to be electric by 2030.

The project is expected to meet the growing needs of the U.S. domestic energy storage markets and the rapidly growing EV battery market. The new operations will provide material for more than five million EV batteries per year at full capacity and create hundreds of jobs throughout the value chain. 

Solvay and Orbia have signed a joint venture agreement for this project. Originally known as Mexichem, Orbia is a global company based in Mexico City, Mexico, that specialises in providing a range of products and solutions across multiple industries including advanced materials. 

The partnership secures the supply by Orbia of needed materials for Solvay to manufacture its suspension-grade polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) production, which is used as a lithium-ion binder and separator coating in electric vehicle batteries. Solvay, on the other hand, will bring its process technology and global market know-how to this venture. In combination, Solvay’s Solef® PVDF innovations and Orbia’s raw material assets and production expertise will enable delivery of PVDF that enables electric vehicles to go farther on each charge, extends battery life, and improves battery safety. 

The project is pivotal for the U.S. EV battery supply chain and benefits from a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and a joint venture with Orbia. Solvay and Orbia intend to use two production sites in the southeastern U.S., one for raw materials and the other for finished products. Both plants are expected to be operational in 2026. Solvay and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains also finalised their agreement for a USD178 million grant to Solvay to help build this facility at its site in Augusta, Georgia. The grant was awarded to Solvay as part of the U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to expand U.S. domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and the electrical grid. 

The project will fill a significant supply gap, building upon favorable regulatory conditions that promote regional production and material security. Solvay’s CEO, Ilham Kadri, said, “We are proud of this important project, which is a key milestone in our electrification strategy, emphasising our global commitment to sustainable mobility. The support of the DOE demonstrates Solvay’s pivotal role in advancing technologies that meet market demand and improve energy storage and the safety and power of electric vehicles. Further, our partnership with Orbia puts us in the driving seat to shore up an independent, sustainable EV battery supply chain in North America and create clean energy jobs.”