LG Chem to build $3.2B cathode plant in Clarksville

By Erik Schelzig | TNJ

LG Chem of South Korea announced plans to build a $3.2 billion cathode plant in Clarksville to supply electric vehicle makers in Tennessee and elsewhere. The new facility is projected to create 860 jobs in Montgomery County.

Here’s the release from Gov. Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter and LG Chem officials today announced the company’s plan to invest approximately $3.2 billion to establish a new cathode manufacturing facility in Clarksville, Tennessee, which will support the electric vehicle battery value-chain in the U.S.

LG Chem’s anticipated investment of approximately $3.2 billion represents the single largest announced foreign direct investment in Tennessee’s history. The project is expected to create 860 new jobs in Montgomery County.

The Clarksville facility will be the largest of its kind in the U.S. and is expected to produce roughly 120,000 tons of cathode material annually by 2027, which is enough to power batteries in 1.2 million electric vehicles with a range of 310 miles per charge.

The current plan is for the state-of-the-art facility to be constructed on 420 acres at the Allensworth site in Clarksville. Construction is slated to begin in Q1 2023, and the plant is scheduled to be in production by the second half of 2025. Once operational, the facility will produce cathode materials, which are one of the most critical ingredients for manufacturing electric vehicle batteries.

The Tennessee site will play a critical role in LG Chem’s strategy to increase its battery materials business by producing advanced NCMA cathode materials containing nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum for next-generation EV batteries with improved battery capacity and stability.

In addition, the Clarksville facility will feature LG Chem’s most advanced production technology, including the ability to produce more than 10,000 tons of cathode material per line, the industry’s highest. LG Chem also plans to implement its smart factory technology in Tennessee to automate the entire production process and establish a quality analysis and control system that will be the benchmark for all other cathode plants in the world.

The new facility will be designed with the environment and future needs of clean energy in mind. LG Chem will collaborate with power suppliers in Tennessee to respond to the demands of customers, including battery and electric vehicle manufacturers, for more renewable energy sources. Operation of the new facility will rely completely on renewable energy provided by solar and hydroelectric power.

Founded in 1947 and headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, LG Chem is a leading chemical and science-oriented company focused on moving toward a more sustainable future. LG Chem has nearly 19,000 employees across more than 50 global business sites, and in 2021, had sales of more than $37 billion.

South Korea is one of Tennessee’s top 10 countries for foreign direct investment. There are approximately 20 Korean-based establishments that have invested $2.3 billion and employ more than 3,500 people across the state. LG Chem’s $3.2 billion investment will more than double the investments made by South Korean-based companies.

LG Chem’s significant investment and job creation contribute to Tennessee’s continued growth in electric vehicle manufacturing. Since 2017, companies have pledged to create more than 11,000 new jobs and invested $12.7 billion in the state through EV-related projects. In addition, more than 180,000 electric vehicles have been produced in Tennessee since 2013, which ranks the state No. 1 in the Southeast for electric vehicle manufacturing.

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