The United States Department of Energy (DOE) offered a conditional commitment to lend Tesla graphite supplier Syrah Technologies, LLC up to $107 million to expand its US-based plant. The DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) offered the conditional commitment to Syrah.
Syrah plans to use the loan to expand its plant in Vidalia, Louisiana, which produces Active Anode Material (AAM) for electric vehicle batteries. It estimates that the initial expansion of the Vadalia facility could help it reach an AAM production capacity of 11.25ktpa (kilo-tonnes per annum).
As per the DOE, Syrah also set a goal to produce enough AAM for approximately 2.5 million electric vehicles by 2040. The $107 million provided by the DOE will cover the expenses for the initial expansion of the Louisiana facility.
Tesla signed an agreement with Syrah earlier this year. As per the agreement, Tesla will acquire about 80% of the output from Syrah’s process plant in Vidalia, Louisiana, starting in 2025. The move will reduce Tesla’s reliance on China.
Syrah aims to be the first major integrated ex-China producer of natural graphite. The company transports graphite concentrate from Balama, Mozambique. Natural graphite is purified in Valdalia, Louisiana, to produce an anode precursor material, then it is coated and heat-treated to make a finished AAM.
The graphite supplier has mainly focused on establishing production lines at Valdalia with the capacity to demonstrate Syrah’s capability to supply ex-Asian markets with quality AAM. If finalized, the $107 million conditional commitment offer would be the first loan issued from the LPO’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program in more than a decade.
The ATVM program has provided loans to notable auto manufacturers, including Ford and Tesla. It would also be the first loan supporting a supply chain manufacturing project, demonstrating the DOE’s commitment to building a domestic supply chain for zero-emission transportation. The Biden Administration committed to strengthening America’s mineral supply chain and growing the US workforce that supports domestic EV battery manufacturing.
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