Syrah gets $102.1 million loan from Department of Energy to help expand its Vidalia operation

Published 11:45 am Friday, July 29, 2022

NATCHEZ — The U.S. Department of Energy Loan Programs Office announced Wednesday it closed a $102.1 million loan to Syrah Technologies LLC to be used for the expansion of its Vidalia, Louisiana, facility.
Syrah’s Vidalia plant produces graphite-based active anode material, which is a key component used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, according to the DOE’s press release.

The Syrah loan is the first from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program since 2001 and the first of that program for a supply chain manufacturing project, said the press release.

The loan is expected to lead to the creation of about 150 construction jobs and 98 “good-paying, highly skilled operations job,” according to the DOE.

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“Securing critical materials, such as lithium and graphite, is essential to increasing domestic production of potteries to power the growing number of EVs on our roadways,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s investment in Syrah Vidalia builds on President Biden’s goals to secure our clean transportation future and grow the United States’ electric vehicle and advance battery manufacturing workforce.”

The loan will help finance the construction of the Syrah Vidalia Facility, which is the only vertically integrated, large-scale AAM manufacturer outside of China, and the first of its kind in the United States. With this expanded production capacity, the Syrah Vidalia Facility is expected to produce enough natural graphite-based AAM to support approximately 2.5 million EVs by 2040, thus saving an estimated 970 million gallons of gasoline, according to the press release.

In December 2021, Syrah announced it had entered into an agreement with Tesla to supply active anode material produced at its Vidalia plant.

Syrah moved graphite minded in Mozambique to Vidalia, where it is used to produce active anode material. At the time, Syrah said it aims to overtake China as the leading supplier of the material that is critical to the production of the batteries used in electric vehicles.

This latest loan closing supports the Department’s first-ever comprehensive strategy to secure America’s clean energy supply chain by increasing the availability of the critical minerals and related materials for clean energy technologies. This announcement builds on the March 2022 authorization by President Biden to use the Defense Production Act to secure sustainable and reliable domestic sources of critical materials for large-capacity batteries, including graphite, according to the press release.