Orion breaks ground on battery materials plant in Texas

Orion breaks ground on battery materials plant in Texas

Orion is already the sole producer of acetylene-based conductive additives in Europe

  • By ICN Bureau | April 11, 2024

Orion, a global specialty chemicals company, on Tuesday broke ground on a plant in Texas that will be the only facility in the U.S. producing acetylene-based conductive additives for lithium-ion batteries and other applications vital for the global shift to electrification.

The site in the city of La Porte, southeast of Houston, will create many high-skilled jobs – both in construction and technical fields – and bring innovative technology to the American economy. The battery additives produced by Orion’s plant will be super clean, with only one-tenth of the carbon footprint of other commonly used materials.

"Orion is already the sole producer of acetylene-based conductive additives in Europe,” Orion CEO Corning Painter said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Our plant in La Porte will be a pivotal step toward strengthening the regional supply of conductive additives in the rapidly growing U.S. battery market.”

Every battery requires conductive additives. The additives produced at the La Porte plant will be made from acetylene, a colorless gas that Orion’s production process turns into powder with exceptional purity demanded by leading battery manufacturers. The acetylene will be supplied by a neighboring site owned by Equistar Chemicals LP, a subsidiary of LyondellBasell.

Kim Foley, LyondellBasell executive vice president of Global Olefins and Polyolefins, Refining and Supply Chain, said “At LYB, we see electrification as a crucial part of our plan to reduce carbon emissions across our industries. By supporting the production of key battery components, we're contributing to solutions for a better tomorrow.”

Orion’s plant in La Porte is similar to one the company has in the city of Berre-l'Étang in southern France. The facility also uses acetylene from LyondellBasell.

With the LaPorte project, key equipment procurement and off-site fabrication are already at an advanced stage. Field construction activities are ramping up, with the facility start-up expected in the second quarter of 2025.

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