By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
ICL Group Ltd., a specialty minerals company located in the Carondelet neighborhood of South St. Louis, broke ground Aug. 8 on a $400 million battery materials plant, $197 million of which is being funded through a U.S. Dept. of Energy grant.
McCarthy Building Companies is the general contractor. ICL’s project represents the first large-scale plant of its kind in the U.S.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony, hailing the development as aligning with the Biden Administration’s goal of seeing electric vehicles account for one-half of all new vehicles sold by 2030.
ICL’s new plant – which will produce the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode material used in making lithium batteries for vehicles – is expected to create 150 permanent jobs along with hundreds of construction jobs. The project is anticipated to complete in 2025. The plant, which will total 140,000 square feet, is expected to produce 30,000 metric tons of LFP annually.
The manufacturer’s sizable federal grant stems from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“If we can figure out how to crack the code to reduce the costs of those critical materials, maybe by using some more abundant materials like iron, then we can really bring down the price of electric vehicles so more individuals can own them and drive them,” Granholm said.