LG Chem close to finalizing plan to build battery cathode plant in U.S.

LG Chem is in the final steps of approving its spending plan to build a battery cathode factory in the United States. The company will likely build a factory in Clarksville, Tennessee, where its subsidiary LG Energy Solutions is building two plants there through a joint venture with General Motors. The project, known internally as Columbus will likely see the company build the factory on about 1.69 million square meters of space in Clarksville.

LG Chem has not yet finalized how much it will cost. However, considering that the cathode plant needs to produce enough cells to support the cells produced by the three factories, which have a combined annual capacity of 120GWh, the expenditure may be in the billions of dollars.

Clarksville and Tennessee are seeking $3.2 billion in funding for unspecified projects, likely LG Chem.

In July this year, the South Korean chemical giant signed a comprehensive agreement with General Motors to supply more than 950,000 tons of cathode materials by 2030, enough to support 5 million electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, LG Chem is planning to produce mainly high-nickel cathodes. That means it will likely make NCM622 (nickel, cobalt, and manganese in a 6:2:2 ratio) and NCMA cathodes. LG Chem may have as many as 12 production lines, each with an annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons. The company currently has a total global capacity of about 80,000 metric tons and plans to expand it to 260,000 metric tons by 2026. The company is also developing cobalt-free cathodes and single-crystal cathodes.

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