The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO) has closed a $102.1-million loan to Australia-based Syrah Technologies LLC for the expansion of its Syrah Vidalia Facility in Louisiana, a processing facility that produces graphite-based active anode material (AAM), a critical material used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and other clean energy technologies.
This marks the first loan from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program since 2011, and the first ATVM loan exclusively for a supply chain manufacturing project.
The project is expected to create approximately 150 construction jobs and 98 good-paying, highly skilled operations jobs.
The loan will help finance the construction of the Syrah Vidalia Facility. Natural graphite for the Syrah Vidalia Facility will come from the mining and processing operation in Balama, Mozambique, which is also owned and controlled by Syrah Technologies’ parent-owner, making the Syrah Vidalia Facility the only vertically integrated, large-scale AAM producer outside of China, and the first such supplier in the United States.
Syrah will transport the natural graphite concentrate (-100 mesh fines material) from Balama Graphite Operation to Vidalia. There the natural graphite is shaped into a spherical shape and purified to produce an anode precursor material. The precursor material is then coated and heat treated to produce a finished AAM.
Syrah has executed a four-year offtake agreement with Tesla to sell the majority of AAM produced from the Syrah Vidalia Facility. The remaining capacity is expected to be sold to other auto and EV battery manufacturers.
With this expanded production capacity, the Syrah Vidalia Facility is expected to produce enough natural graphite-based AAM to support approximately 2.5 million EVs by 2040.
This latest loan closing supports the Department’s first comprehensive strategy to increase the domestic availability of the critical minerals and related materials for clean energy technologies.
Across all its programs, LPO has attracted 77 active applications for projects totaling more than $79 billion in requested loans and loan guarantees as of June 2022. With this loan closing, LPO now has $15.1 billion in remaining ATVM loan authority.