Chicago-headquartered NanoGraf Technologies, which claims it has enabled the world’s most energy dense 18650 lithium-ion cell, today announced that it will open the first large-volume silicon oxide factory in the United States. At peak production, NanoGraf will produce 35 tons per year.
NanoGraf’s new US high-performance silicon anode materials factory, which is under construction, is in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. And, it was a $10 million US Department of Defense (DoD) contract that made this new 17,000-square-foot factory possible.
Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, NanoGraf will also get a 10% tax credit for domestic anode material production.
NanoGraf already had an R&D facility in Chicago, and it’s been piloting its products in Japan. In 2019, the US Council for Automotive Research, a consortium of Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, provided NanoGraf with $7.5 million for a 36-month electric vehicle battery research and development project.
Connor Hund, chief operating officer at NanoGraf, explained why the DoD contract is a milestone for the company in a video call today with Electrek:
The Department of Defense is incredibly supportive of US manufacturing, as it’s in the interest of national security. We’re providing lighter batteries for soldiers to carry, and battery cells on soldiers isn’t something the DoD takes lightly. The national security element of domestic battery manufacturing results in bipartisan support.
NanoGraf intentionally treads the path of careful growth, and the 18-month contract with the DoD allows NanoGraf to scale up domestic production in a deliberate way. Hund feels it’s that methodical step that lays the groundwork for the company’s next stage of supplying domestically produced batteries to the EV market by 2024 – and that’s when it intends to achieve its goal of producing 1,000 tons of silicon anode material per year.
Manufacturing is the hardest part – there’s a lot of great technology sitting in labs. The DoD is catalyzing the growth of our company, and we need that growth to be ready for the EV revolution.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said of NanoGraf’s Chicago factory announcement:
Illinois is poised to become a leader in the electric vehicle revolution, thanks to leaders in our state like NanoGraf. With its groundbreaking research and production of lightweight, energy-dense batteries, NanoGraf is helping define the next generation of consumer and military vehicles.
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