Photo: Nissan Leaf (EV) disassembled with lithium-ion batteries on display.
Photo Credit: Tennen-Gas / CC
Published June 23, 2021
By Jon Styf [The Center Square contributor] and The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
Tennessee’s role as a center for creating electric vehicles continues to expand.
On Tuesday, NOVONIX, a battery materials and technology company headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, announced a $160 million expansion that is expected to create 290 new jobs at its Chattanooga manufacturing facility.
Since March 2017, NOVONIX has made anodes through its PUREgraphite brand. Anodes are a negative electrode used in creating lithium-ion batteries, specifically those used in electric vehicles and similar storage applications.
“When companies like NOVONIX choose to expand in Tennessee, it underscores our state’s business-friendly environment, highly skilled workforce, and reputation for automotive strength,” Gov. Bill Lee said in a press release announcing the move. “This project and the creation of nearly 300 new jobs will have a lasting impact on the Chattanooga community and Tennessee’s economy.”
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NOVONIX plans to purchase and retrofit the former Alstom building, which will be the company’s second facility in Chattanooga. The 400,000+-square-foot plant will accommodate a planned 8,000+-ton per year production operation and will join the existing operations located at 353 Corporate Place where the company has been since 2019.
Chris Burns, CEO of NOVONIX stated, “We are excited to be announcing this next phase of expansion of our anode materials business in Tennessee. Chattanooga has been a great location for our operations over the past four years, and we look forward to growing the company in the expanding south-east hub of electric vehicle battery manufacturing. We look forward to continuing to work with the great people in Chattanooga, Hamilton County and the State of Tennessee as we help establish the domestic supply chain of key materials for the lithium-ion battery sector.”
Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe stated that since the automotive industry is shifting to a focus on electric vehicles, they are focused on supporting companies that boost Tennessee’s presence in the EV space.
“NOVONIX’s decision to increase US-based lithium-ion battery production from Chattanooga is an enormous vote of confidence to the region and its business landscape,” Rolfe said.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said, “We’re one of the best places to do business, and it’s great to continually see new companies joining our economic landscape.”
Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly sees this expansion as an opportunity for the area’s growth in the energy storage sector.
“NOVONIX represents a significant investment in a targeted industry with long term opportunity for growth. This also positions our community for additional success,” Kelly said.
Senator Todd Gardenhire said, “These 290 new jobs along with a large capital investment will have a positive impact on our local economy. Tennessee’s business friendly environment makes it a great place for growing companies to expand. NOVONIX’s expansion is a big deal, and I congratulate local and state officials and all who helped secure this sizable investment in Hamilton County.”
In April, LG Energy Solutions and General Motors announced a $2.3 billion electric vehicle battery expansion under the Ultium Cells brand, creating a 2.8-million-square-foot plant in Spring Hill that is expected to employ 1,300 workers. Lee called that the “largest single investment of economic activity in the state’s history.”
Those interested in applying for a position with NOVONIX can email email@example.com.