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Epsilon announces $650 million battery components and anode plant in USA

The move assumes significance considering China has moved to restrict graphite exports from December 

The Epsilon and North Carolina teams after the announcement, with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (third from left) and Vikram Handa (fourth from left). Image: Epsilon Advanced Materials

Indian battery components maker Epsilon Advanced Materials (EAM) announced plans to set up a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the Wilmington area of North Carolina, USA, to manufacture anodes and synthetic graphite, in what is the first and the largest investment from an Indian company in the US EV market.

EAM said the plant, coming up at an investment of $650 million, will begin operations in 2026. It will have capacity of 50,000 tons per annum of graphite anode, enabling it to cater to up to 1.1 million EVs once it reaches full capacity by 2031.

The plant will make anodes (the negative electrodes in batteries) from natural graphite as well, and EAM said it was in discussions with suppliers for sourcing the material and other raw materials. Battery components and materials manufactured there are likely to qualify for American incentives under the country's Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to develop strong local competencies in the clean energy domain. 

Speaking on the occasion, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, "This historic investment will bring 500 clean energy jobs to Brunswick County, helping both our economy and our environment." 

Vikram Handa, Managing Director of EAM's parent company Epsilon Carbon, and Chairman of the India Battery Manufacturing and Supply Chain Council, an initiative of the India Energy Storage Alliance, called it a proud moment for the company, and a chance to further strengthen the India-US trade relationship. "With sustainability at the helm of all energy conversations [and] holding significant importance for a cleaner future, we are confident that this new establishment … will strengthen the EV industry locally and globally," Handa said. 

EAM, a leader in advanced materials and graphite technology, is headquartered in Mumbai, India, but the company has a global reach with operations encompassing Europe, North America and East Asia. The company already has a $1.1 billion battery anode manufacturing plant in Bellary, India, and has recently collaborated with Finnish Minerals Group (FMG) to establish a 50,000 TPA graphite anode plant in Finland. 

EAM CEO Sunit Kapur said the company's technical capability to manufacture natural and synthetic graphite will enable it to provide graphite anodes to the growing EV battery industry faster, more reliably, and at a competitive cost without import challenges. "Having an environmentally friendly world-class facility in North Carolina resolves supply chain concerns that the automotive industry has experienced in recent years," Kapur said in a statement. 

For EAM, establishing a manufacturing plant in North Carolina, offers strategic advantages, such as the plant's proximity to the Wilmington port, automotive suppliers, Southeastern vehicle manufacturing facilities and the local community college. 

In a statement, the company said "The location also streamlines logistics, reduces costs and provides access to the growing electric vehicle market. The skilled local workforce, with support from the community college, and potential economic incentives enhance the business environment, while geographic features offer resilience and sustainability."

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