On May 8, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Greg Abbott, the Governor of Texas, broke ground at the Corpus Christi location of the company’s new lithium refinery.
The facility on the Gulf Coast will help Tesla secure a domestic supply of lithium hydroxide, a crucial component required to create batteries for its electric vehicles and its home- and utility-scale batteries. The company plans to invest $375 million in its construction.
Musk stated that Tesla intends to create more lithium at the refinery than the combined capacity of the rest of North America’s refineries, producing enough battery-grade lithium to produce one million vehicles annually.
In addition, the automaker intends to build a “battery-grade lithium hydroxide refining facility.” As well as other “facilities to support other types of battery materials processing, refining and manufacturing and ancillary manufacturing operations in support of Tesla’s sustainable product line.”
The firm’s regulatory papers stated that “the process Tesla will use is innovative and designed to consume less hazardous reagents and create usable byproducts compared to the conventional process.”
On the other hand, In April of last year, Musk suggested that Tesla may need to enter the lithium refining business because the price of the metal had “gone to insane levels.” But, since then, lithium prices have drastically dropped.
However, China still holds most of the global processing and refining capacity for lithium, while the U.S. currently has 1% of that capacity. According to Musk, a “fundamental chokepoint” for the electric vehicle sector and others is the availability of lithium for use in batteries.
Republican governor Greg Abbott praised Elon Musk as the world’s best businessman. Abbott claims, “Texas wants to be self-reliant and not dependent upon any opposing foreign nation for what we need.”