U.S.-based chemicals company Cabot Corp. said it plans to expand the capacity to produce some of the materials necessary for EV batteries at an existing facility in Texas. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S.-based capacity to secure the materials necessary for a domestic electric vehicle battery sector could see support from the addition of critical battery materials from a facility in Texas, chemicals company Cabot Corp. said Thursday.
Boston-based Cabot Corp. said it planned to expand the capacity to produce conductive carbon additives at its plant in Pampa, Texas, part of a broader $200 million, five-year investment program.
"CCAs are an essential component of lithium-ion battery chemistry and are used to provide sufficient electrical conductivity to the active materials," the company explained.
Cabot says it has the largest portfolio for these materials and global demand for CCAs is expected to increase by as much as 30% over the next five years as EVs start to displace conventional, gas-powered vehicles.
While the United States contains the metals and minerals needed for the energy transition away from fossil fuels, mining of essential battery components such as lithium is an expensive endeavor and only a handful of countries have proven success.
The Paris-based International Agency estimates that the Democratic Republic of Congo currently produces 70% of the world's cobalt, used in lithium-ion batteries, while Australia, Chile and China account for 90% of the total global production of lithium.
Companies with a U.S. footprint are working in earnest to catch up with the rest of the global community. Incentives outlined in President Joe Biden's signature Inflation Reduction Act meant to support the energy transition are available only if there's a domestic manufacturing base.
Sean Keohane, the president and CEO at Cabot, said this is a pivotal time for EVs as the global economy works to rely less on fossil fuels such as crude oil and natural gas.
"We believe our technology position, along with our existing network of plants and talent, uniquely positions Cabot to support the growth expectations of our customers here in the U.S.," he said. "Our planned investments will help support the electric vehicle transition and solidify Cabot as a global leader in CCAs for battery applications."