Solvay and Orbia has announced their entry into a joint venture framework agreement to create a partnership for the production of suspension-grade polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), creating the largest capacity in North America.
With more than half of U.S. car sales projected to be electric by 2030, demand for lithium-ion batteries and PVDF, a thermoplastic fluoropolymer used as a lithium-ion binder and separator coating, is revving up. The Solvay-Orbia joint venture would fill a significant supply gap and will build upon favorable regulatory conditions promoting regional production and material security. Solvay, a global leader in PVDF, brings process technology and unparalleled global market know-how to this venture. With a vertically-integrated value chain and material holdings, Orbia’s Fluorinated Solutions business Koura and Polymer Solutions business Vestolit will supply hydrofluoric acid, vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and chlorine respectively. In combination, Solvay’s Solef® PVDF innovations and Orbia’s raw material assets and production expertise will enable delivery of PVDF that optimizes energy storage efficiency by increasing battery energy-density, safety and power.
“We are delighted to partner with Orbia on this exciting opportunity to expand our battery solutions into North America, with strong support by the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Ilham Kadri, CEO of Solvay. “This significant milestone in our electrification strategy enhances our global leadership and contributes to the establishment of the battery supply chain infrastructure in the United States. This decision follows our previously announced investment in Tavaux, France. These investments extend our ambition to grow global sales to the automotive market from €800 million in 2021 to over €3 billion by 2030.”
Said Sameer Bharadwaj, CEO of Orbia, “Our partnership with Solvay marks a key milestone for our business and our role in enabling the North American energy transition. Together with Solvay, Orbia’s unique position integrated into both the fluorine and vinyl chains, helps us to bring a cost competitive battery supply chain to the U.S., just as we maintain our commitment to developing sustainable solutions that can advance life globally. Along with our previously announced Department of Energy grant to produce LiPF6 electrolyte salts in North America, this investment will put us in a leadership position to provide a secure source for fluorinated lithium-ion battery additives as well as local jobs.”
The total investment is estimated to be around $850 million, and is expected to be funded in part by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy of $178 million to Solvay to build a facility in Augusta, Georgia. Solvay and Orbia intend to use two production sites, one for raw materials and the other for finished product, located in the southeastern United States. Both plants are expected to be fully operational by 2026. Commencement of the joint venture is subject to finalizing and entering into definitive agreements between the parties and satisfaction of customary conditions, including obtaining regulatory approvals.