SoCal EV battery gigafactory unveiled
Euro battery exec to build 54 GWh plant in Imperial Valley Metal Tech News – April 20, 2022
Last updated 4/26/2022 at 2:07pm
Lars Carlstrom, who has already founded two companies building lithium-ion battery gigafactories in Europe, has launched a third enterprise that plans to build a 54-gigawatt-hour battery facility in Southern California that will be supplied with geothermal power and lithium from Controlled Thermal Resources' Hell's Kitchen project in Imperial Valley.
Carlstrom is a pioneering industrialist in the automotive sector who founded Britishvolt, which is developing a 30 GWh battery gigafactory in the United Kingdom and is the founder and CEO of Italvolt, which is advancing the development of a 45 GWh battery plant in the heart of Italy's Motor Valley – home to Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati.
Carlstrom's American endeavor is Statevolt, which plans to build a US$4 billion plant about 100 miles northwest of San Diego that is capable of producing enough batteries to power 650,000 electric vehicles per year.
"The development of lithium-ion batteries is crucial for the U.S. to meet its goals to transition to Net Zero," Carlstrom said. "Statevolt is proud to begin its journey to develop U.S. expertise and production of lithium-ion batteries, as we look to serve this critical market."
While the exact locale of Statevolt's first gigafactory is still being determined, it is expected to be built in the vicinity of the Hell's Kitchen geothermal power and lithium project being developed by Controlled Thermal Resources.
Under an agreement between the two companies, CTR will deliver sustainable, locally produced lithium and geothermal power to the Statevolt battery plant.
This electricity and lithium will come from a closed-loop process being developed by CTR that directly extracts lithium from geothermal brines at Hell's Kitchen and uses the heat to generate the electricity that will power the extraction of lithium and the upgrade of that product to the lithium hydroxide used in EV batteries. The lithium-less brine will then be pumped back into the ground, and the excess zero-carbon electricity will be delivered to the power grid.
"We are pleased to be collaborating with CTR and its industry-leading, and highly-specialized approach to sustainable lithium production and development," said Carlstrom.
By locating its California gigafactory near Hell's Kitchen, Statevolt will benefit from the near-zero-carbon lithium and continuous baseload of renewable power produced by CTR.
"We applaud Lars and his team for taking a proactive approach to ensure the company's future lithium supply, while also consciously seeking out the cleanest lithium and power available for Statevolt's first U.S. Gigafactory," said Controlled Thermal Resources CEO Rod Colwell.
Clean, secure, and reliable sources of lithium are vital to achieving the ambitious electric mobility goals of global governments and automakers, as well as to the success of companies hoping to supply batteries that will make this EV revolution possible.
In a race to meet climate goals, the Biden administration wants half of all automobiles sold in the U.S. to be EVs by 2030. General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and most other global automakers are aligned with this goal, which is creating massive new demand for lithium and other battery metals and minerals.
It is expected that the U.S. alone will need roughly 383,000 metric tons of lithium for the batteries powering EVs and storing renewable energy per year by 2030, which is nearly four times the 100,000 metric tons of lithium mined globally in 2021.
"Today, we face a significant shortage in the amount of lithium that is required to meet the demand for electric vehicles. We are pioneering a new, hyper-local business model, which prioritises sustainability and resilience in the supply chain to solve this issue," said Carlstrom. "More importantly, we believe this model will offer Statevolt a significant advantage in producing lithium-ion batteries at scale, to meet booming consumer demand and create good-paying, highly skilled jobs."
CTR, which has already entered into a strategic partnership to provide GM with low-carbon lithium from Hell's Kitchen, is expected to accelerate its plans to develop and expand the critical battery materials project.
Further details on the GM-CTR strategic partnership can be read at GM secures green US geothermal lithium in the July 2, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.
"The extraordinary growth in electric vehicle adoption and the emerging demand for energy storage systems to provide clean power, highlights the urgent need to develop a strong and secure battery supply chain in the United States," said Colwell. "CTR continues to develop its significant resource in response to this unprecedented demand, and we look forward to collaborating with Statevolt as we accelerate these efforts."
Statevolt's newly assembled team brings deep industry experience and expertise to the California battery project, along with the ability to harness the experience and network of Carlstrom's European battery companies to accelerate the construction process and create an industry-leading facility.
Given these advantages, Statevolt plans to begin producing lithium-ion batteries at scale in Southern California by 2025.
The battery industry springing up around CTR's Hell's Kitchen project is expected to create 2,500 direct jobs for Imperial Valley, a region increasingly being known as Lithium Valley.