The U.S.’s first anode manufacturing facility opened in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Monday, a monumental step to enhance the domestic battery supply chain, as it faces increasing demand from electric vehicle makers.

NOVONIX unveiled the ‘Riverside Recharged’ facility — a $20 million, 400,000 sq. ft. retrofit of a former GE nuclear turbine manufacturing facility — that will soon produce premium synthetic graphite. The company aims to produce 10,000 tonnes per year by 2023 and 40,000 tonnes by 2025.

“NOVONIX is transforming the battery material market and lessening U.S. dependence on foreign sources,” said Dr. Chris Burns, CEO of NOVONIX. “Through our technological breakthroughs, we are the first and only U.S. supplier of synthetic graphite to be qualified with a Tier 1 battery cell manufacturer. Our solution is helping to power the energy storage market, leading to better performance, longer life and lower costs.” 

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Dignitaries and officials attend the NOVONIX “riverside recharged” event in downtown Chattanooga on Monday, November 22, 2021 – Event Photography by Dan Henry.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joined NOVONIX and local leaders for the announcement, which included the creation of 290 jobs.

“The local support for this means not just something for Chattanooga, and it’s not just for Tennessee, but it really is for the country,” Granholm said. “The fact that we’re at a facility that once employed about 230 people and that now is going to employ 300 people, making the future of our transportation energy system secure, is such a great day for America.”

The Dept. of Energy, through the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries, released the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries in June with the goal of guiding investment to establish a secure battery materials and technology supply chain by 2030.

China has, so far, dominated the battery supply chain but there are signs that the U.S., and other countries, are gaining ground. While around 80% of all battery cell manufacturing capacity is in China, BloombergNEF found that the U.S. moved into second place globally in 2021, and will retain the position through 2026 under current projections.

Moreover, the Biden administration’s investment in battery research and proposed clean energy incentives are likely to close the gap even more.

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