LG Chem to Build $3.2B Cathode Plant in Tennessee

SEOUL – LG Chem announced late Monday that it intends to invest $3.2 billion to construct a new cathode manufacturing plant in Clarksville, Tenn., that would supply electric vehicle battery cell producers such as Ultium Cells LLC.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Tennessee to establish the plant, the Korea-based company announced.

“The new cathode manufacturing facility in Tennessee brings us one step closer to becoming the world’s best battery materials manufacturer and fulfilling our corporate vision to become a top global science company,” said Hak Cheol Shin, CEO of LG Chem. “This site will be the North American manufacturing center of excellence for the cathode supply chain and lead to the creation of many well-paying jobs, contributing to the local economy in Clarksville.”

Ultium Cells, a joint venture between LG Energy Solution and General Motors, recently started production at its Lordstown, Ohio plant and is in the process of constructing a second plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. A third facility is targeted for Lansing, Mich.

The new plant will be the largest of its kind in the United States, covering 420 acres with a production target of 120,000 tons of cathode material annually by 2027 to power batteries in 1.2 million pure electric vehicles with a range of 310 miles per charge.

Construction of the plant will begin in the first quarter of next year with mass production to start in the second half of 2025.  The Tennessee site will play a critical role in LG Chem’s strategy to increase its battery materials business including cathode material fourfold by 2027.

“LG Chem’s decision to invest USD 3.2 billion in Clarksville is a testament to Tennessee’s unmatched business climate, skilled workforce and position as a leader in the automotive industry,” said Tennessee Governor Lee. “I thank this company for creating more than 850 new jobs to provide opportunity to Tennesseans across Montgomery County.”

LG Chem selected the Tennessee site because of its proximity to key customers, ease of transporting raw materials and active cooperation of the state and local governments.

The new facility will produce advanced NCMA cathode materials containing nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum for next-generation EV batteries with improved battery capacity and stability.  The Tennessee plant will feature LG Chem’s most advanced production technology including the ability to produce more than 10,000 tons of cathode material per line, the industry’s highest. The company also plans to implement its smart factory technology in Tennessee to automate the entire production process and establish a quality analysis and control system that will be the benchmark for all other cathode plants in the world.  Operation of the new facility will rely completely on renewable energy provided by solar and hydroelectric power, the company said. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.