A Belgian company is expanding its operations in Augusta by building a new electric vehicle battery component factory.
Solvay Specialty Polymers announced Thursday it will build a plant next to its existing Augusta factory to manufacture EV-grade binders and separator coatings, Sen Raphael Warnock announced in a press release. The parts the factory will produce are critical components within the lithium-ion batteries that power EVs.
Warnock, a Democrat in the middle of a re-election campaign against Republican Herschel Walker, credited a $178 million federal grant awarded to Solvay for the new factory.
“I was proud to fight for and help secure the $178 million needed for this new facility,” Warnock had said in a prior release, “and I’ll continue to work closely with businesses looking to start or expand in Georgia to secure critical investments that will help create local, good-paying jobs.”
Last month, Solvay received the grant through the Battery Materials Processing and Battery Component Manufacturing and Recycling program, which was funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted in 2021. It will create 500 construction jobs and 100 manufacturing jobs, the release said.
To qualify for the grant, Solvay will have to match the awarded funds and produce a $356 million facility. The U.S. Department of Energy, which awarded the grant, added that it expects the project to create an additional 500 indirect jobs.
Solvay has had a presence in Augusta since 2000, when it purchased a manufacturing facility from BP Amoco. The company produces specialty polymers and plastic resins which are used in various products, from airplanes to medical devices.
By bringing EV-related manufacturing to Georgia, the company joins the state’s fast-growing electric vehicle production industry.
The state’s two largest and most high-profile economic development projects — Hyundai’s $5.5 billion EV factory near Savannah and Rivian’s $5 billion EV factory east of Atlanta — aim to make Georgia a leader in producing plug-in vehicles.
Augusta has also emerged as a desirable spot for EV parts companies. Last year, German copper smelting company Aurubis announced a $340 million factory and Denkai, a Japanese copper foil producer, announced a $430 million factory, both of which will produce metal materials for EV batteries.
Mike Finelli, president of Solvay Growth Platforms and Chief North American Officer, said in a news release that the large federal grants will help the U.S. bolster its domestic EV parts supply chain.
“We are proud to receive the federal government’s support for manufacturing technologies that will provide the U.S. with critical raw materials for building an independent, sustainable EV value chain,” he said.
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