Chemical manufacturer Orbia is exploring two expansion projects in Iberville Parish for its fluorinated solutions business, Koura, Louisiana Economic Development announced last week.
The projects would support the country’s lithium-ion battery production supply chain for electric vehicle production.
The first proposed project is the construction of a $400 million manufacturing facility that would produce LiPF6, a component that allows for the flow of electricity through lithium-ion batteries. This facility would be the first of its kind in the U.S. and Koura estimates it would produce 10,000 metric tons of LiPF6 per year.
The company has also proposed an additional $400 million investment to build a second production plant that would have the potential to manufacture 40,000 metric tons of R-142b annually. R-142b is a critical binding agent for lithium-ion battery production.
If the projects move forward as outlined, Koura expects to create 100 direct new jobs across the two projects with an average annual salary of $80,000, while retaining 80 current positions. It also anticipates the creation of more than 2,000 construction jobs at peak construction of both facilities
Koura’s St. Gabriel facility has been in operation since 1991 and currently produces R-134a refrigerant. These new facilities would support the company as it aims to expand domestic manufacturing of EV and electrical grid batteries and shift production of their materials and components to the U.S.
The company anticipates a final investment decision on both projects in the coming months. It expects construction of both new facilities to begin in 2025 and commence operations in 2026.
In 2022, Koura was selected to receive a $100 million award for production of LiPF6 from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the first set of projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The state of Louisiana has prepared two incentive packages for the St. Gabriel projects that would include LED FastStart. Each project was also offered a $1.5 million performance-based grant for site infrastructure and a $1 million retention and modernization tax credit, both contingent upon meeting payroll and investment targets. Koura is also expected to apply for the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs for both projects.