Albemarle Corporation, a leader in the global speciality chemicals industry, has announced it has acquired a location in Charlotte, North Carolina. It will invest at least $180 million to establish the Albemarle Technology Park (ATP).
This will be a world-class facility designed for novel materials research, advanced process development and acceleration of next-generation lithium products to market, especially those used in electric vehicle (EV) battery production.
The company anticipates that innovations from the new site will enhance lithium recovery, improve production methods and introduce new forms of lithium to enable breakthrough levels of battery performance.
Kent Masters, Albemarle CEO, said: “Albemarle Technology Park is part of our mine-to-market innovation strategy to invest in the US EV battery supply chain and to be a leader in advanced lithium materials for next-generation energy storage.
“This facility will focus and accelerate our lithium technology leadership, better enabling the world’s transition to more sustainable energy.”
Albemarle was awarded a nearly $13 million incentive package from the State of North Carolina to develop the advanced lithium materials research, process development and product innovation facility in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
Roy Cooper, Governor of North Carolina, said: “Albemarle’s work on the next generation of products related to lithium batteries really advances North Carolina’s leadership in the emerging clean energy economy.
“Reducing carbon emissions is good for our environment and great for our economy too.”
The incentive package is part of a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) supporting a portion of Albemarle’s investment to transform the former IBM and Flextronics facility.
The company anticipates creating at least 200 jobs at the site, with an average salary of $94,000 per year. In particular, the team intends to triple the number of PhD professionals in the Albemarle Technology Park.
Vi Lyles, Charlotte Mayor, said: “Charlotte has been home to Albemarle Corporation for several years. This investment signifies their commitment to the growth and innovation of the company as well as our city, and we have a talented workforce that can fill the jobs this expansion will bring.”
Albemarle’s vision for the ATP spans from novel lithium materials and manufacturing processes to new product commercialisation in close partnership with strategic customers.
By co-locating these critical activities and collaborations, the company expects ATP will become a lithium innovation hub that anchors technology leadership in the Southeast US, where the EV industry is rapidly expanding. Many big manufacturers have announced they too are moving to the state which is fast becoming a new centre of electric vehicle technology.
VinFast announced it will invest $2 billion in an electric vehicle factory in North Carolina. Toyota also announced that the North Carolina Greensboro-Randolph Megasite has been chosen as the location for Toyota’s new $1.29 billion battery manufacturing plant. Plus, electric van maker Arrival announced a high voltage battery module (HVBM) assembly plant in Charlotte too.
Albemarle anticipates that enhanced process technologies developed at the ATP will unlock new lithium resources, increase sustainability by reducing energy and water use and enable lithium recovery at end-of-life through cost-effective recycling.
Albemarle expects initial occupancy of the new facility by early 2025 and completion of the ATP campus by late 2026.