Tesla evaluating lithium refinery in Texas for electrical automobile batteries

Elon Musk had beforehand steered Tesla may get into lithium refining at scale as a result of the price of the steel, a key element in manufacturing batteries, has surged. If Tesla’s software in Texas is authorised, building on a lithium hydroxide refining facility may start within the fourth quarter of 2022.

Christophe Gateau | Image Alliance | Getty Pictures

Electrical automobile large Tesla is evaluating the feasibility of a lithium hydroxide refining facility on the gulf coast of Texas.

Tesla mentioned the plant could be targeted on the event of “battery-grade lithium hydroxide” and be “the primary of its sort in North America,” based on a newly launched letter to the Texas Comptroller’s Workplace.

The corporate would course of “uncooked ore materials right into a usable state for battery manufacturing” then ship the lithium hydroxide to varied Tesla battery manufacturing factories, the applying mentioned.

In April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned the corporate could must get into lithium refining as a result of the price of the steel had “gone to insane ranges.”

The value of lithium is up 120% this yr, based on an monitoring index from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Tesla’s transfer can also be seemingly a bid to diversify the availability of its lithium and battery manufacturing. China controls greater than half of the world’s lithium processing and refining, and the USA simply 1%.

As a part of the applying to Texas, the corporate mentioned it’s also contemplating “different battery supplies processing, refining and manufacturing and ancillary manufacturing operations in assist of Tesla’s sustainable product line.”

If Tesla’s software is authorised, building may start within the fourth quarter of 2022, the corporate mentioned. The challenge will attain “business operations” by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Tesla mentioned that it’s nonetheless “evaluating the feasibility of this challenge” and “solely very preliminary improvement actions have begun.”

No engineering, building or procurement building contracts have been negotiated or signed and no regulatory permits have been obtained, Tesla mentioned.

Musk’s agency mentioned the challenge may very well be positioned “anyplace with entry to the Gulf Coast transport channel.” Tesla mentioned it’s evaluating a competing website in Louisiana.

Tesla mentioned the one means this challenge shall be viable is that if Texas provides it tax breaks below its regulation.

“Within the case of the funding on this proposed challenge in Texas, the choice shall be primarily based on a variety of business and monetary concerns, together with the flexibility to acquire aid relating to native property taxes,” based on the applying.

Lithium is a crucial steel for batteries that go into every part from electrical vehicles from smartphones. Given the strategic significance of such uncommon earth metals and China’s mining dominance of them, there was concern from Washington that Beijing may minimize off crucial provides of lithium and different supplies.

The U.S. is seeking to ramp up its personal uncommon earth refining and mining trade to meet up with China.

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