Entek lands $1.2 billion federal loan for film plant

July 10, 2024
The loan from the U.S. Department of Energy will help finance the EV battery separator film plant under construction in Indiana.

By PMM Staff

Entek Lithium Separators LLC announced it has received a conditional commitment of up to $1.2 billion for a direct loan through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Loan Programs Office.

The loan will finance a new plant in Terre Haute, Ind., for manufacturing PE-based lithium-ion battery separators to be used primarily in electric vehicles (EVs). The Indiana plant will onshore the lithium-ion battery cell supply chain. Entek is the only U.S.-owned and U.S.-based producer of “wet-process” lithium-ion battery separator materials.

The project is expected to create 763 construction jobs and 635 operational jobs.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a manufacturer in the battery industry,” Entek CEO Larry Keith said in a press release. “For 40 years, Entek has been serving the battery separator needs of its customers with a commitment to productivity and innovation that our customers require for their battery applications.”

Once complete, the Indiana facility is expected to have the capacity to manufacture 1.72 billion square meters of separator material annually for the North American EV market.

Based on current form factors chosen by cell manufacturers, the project will support about 1.9 million mid-size EVs or 1.3 million eSUVs annually.

Domestic EV manufacturing has surged in response to the massive growth in the domestic and global EV markets and the financial incentives recently made available under the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

A battery separator is a microporous membrane sandwiched between the anode and cathode of a battery. The principal functions of the battery separator are to prevent electronic conduction (such as shorts or direct contact) between the anode and cathode while permitting ionic conduction via the electrolyte. Separators play an essential role in the performance and safety of lithium-ion batteries. Entek manufactures both ceramic-coated and uncoated separators.

Additionally, Entek will be able to sell its separators to manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries for energy storage applications.

Entek is also known for manufacturing and selling twin-screw extruders. Its extruders are used in the manufacture of the PE-based lithium-ion battery separators.

The Indiana project supports the Biden administration’s efforts to expand and secure environmentally sustainable clean energy domestic supply chains key to reaching the country’s ambitious climate goals while reducing reliance on economic competitors like China, according to the DOE. The DOE estimates that by 2030, the North American lithium-ion EV battery industry will require annual separator production of 7 to 10 billion square meters.

Entek, Lebanon, Ore., 541-259-3901, www.entek.com

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