Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Texas Governor Greg Abbott joined forces on Monday to break ground at the site of Tesla’s new lithium refinery in Corpus Christi. The electric vehicle manufacturer has pledged $375 million to build the facility, which is expected to help secure a domestic supply of lithium hydroxide, a crucial ingredient needed to manufacture batteries for their electric cars, as well as for home and utility-scale batteries.
Revolutionizing Battery Manufacturing
The facility will be used to produce enough battery-grade lithium to manufacture one million vehicles per year, and the company expects to produce more lithium than the rest of North America’s refining capacity combined. Tesla has promised to use an innovative process that will consume less hazardous reagents and create usable byproducts compared to the conventional process. The company’s battery raw material and recycling leader, Turner Caldwell, said that Tesla would find “beneficial use opportunities” for the byproduct of its lithium, which will mostly be sand and limestone.
Reducing Dependence on China
Currently, China controls more than half of the world’s lithium processing and refining capacity, while the U.S. has only controlled 1% in recent years. Governor Abbott praised Musk as the greatest entrepreneur on Earth and highlighted the importance of reducing dependence on foreign nations for essential resources. Tesla’s move towards domestic production of lithium hydroxide will revolutionize battery manufacturing and bolster the U.S.’s self-reliance.
In conclusion, Tesla’s investment in a lithium refinery is a significant step towards securing a domestic supply of lithium hydroxide for battery manufacturing. The innovative process that the company will use promises to be more environmentally friendly than the conventional process, and Tesla aims to produce more lithium than the rest of North America’s refining capacity combined. This move will reduce the U.S.’s dependence on China and bolster self-reliance.