Large electric car battery materials plant in Moses Lake, Washington

San Francisco Bay Area company Sila Nanotechnologies has bought a vacant factory in Moses Lake, Wash., and on Tuesday announced plans to open a large operation there to produce battery materials. advanced to power electric cars.

Sila Nanotechnologies has partnerships with automakers BMW and Mercedes to provide components that increase the energy density of lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars and consumer electronics.

Sila purchased the closed factory building from Xyleco. This Massachusetts company originally acquired it to test a new process for making ethanol from inedible plant material. Conveniently, the property sits directly across from REC Silicon’s underutilized industrial facility, which could supply silane gas to Sila for the production of advanced batteries.

“Since our inception, we have strived to achieve automotive standards of quality and scale to deliver longer range, faster charging times and lower battery cost,” said the CEO. and Sila co-founder Gene Berdichevsky in a press release. “With this scale, we have a critical building block to realize the full potential of next-generation materials at the volumes required to have global impact.”

During the initial production phase of the new plant, Sila predicted that it could manufacture enough anode material to power 100,000 to 500,000 electric cars per year, depending on whether its silicon-based product is used in total or partial replacement of traditional graphite anodes. Production is expected to begin at Moses Lake in late 2024.

Sila did not provide a specific figure on the scale of its investment in Washington state, although Berdichevsky told Reuters that launching the new plant would cost “hundreds of millions of dollars”.

Renovation and outfitting of the factory building could benefit from a recently approved sales tax deferral and exemption for clean energy manufacturing. The Washington legislature approved the new tax relief in March after hearing testimony that such a policy would attract investment and research development.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee had a virtual meeting April 14 with Sila Nanotechnologies management to welcome the company to his state, as first reported by The Washington Observer.

Inslee and President Joe Biden have outlined sweeping ambitions to increase adoption of battery-powered vehicles. Sales of electric vehicles have grown strongly in recent years, but accounted for less than 8% of new car sales in Washington and Oregon in 2021. Among the factors limiting the increase in sales are the high prices of plug-in vehicles, which are closely linked. to the high cost of batteries.

“The state has a tremendous interest in the electric vehicle market and is growing it as quickly as possible,” Inslee spokesman Mike Faulk said by email. “It is expected that demand will quickly outpace supply and that increasing manufacturing capacity for electric vehicle batteries is a very important part of our decarbonization strategy going forward.” [Copyright 2022 Northwest News Network]

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