Lithium battery material company NanoGraf Technologies is opening the first large-volume silicon oxide factory in the U.S. The 17,000-square-foot facility in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood gives the company the opportunity to increase its long-lasting silicon anode production significantly.
The company is opening this American production facility to contribute to the U.S. battery industry’s growth and help fulfill its contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. Its products are expected to roll off the Chicago production line by late 2023.
NanoGraf describes itself as an advanced battery material company and has previously focused the bulk of its research and development projects in Japan. The Chicago facility will produce its proprietary silicon anode critical to creating the world’s most energy-dense 18650 cell. That cell is vital to various applications for the Department of Defense, which signed a $10 million, 18-month contract with the firm.
The company is using this contract as a jumping-off point for rapid scaling, which will allow it to produce 1,000 tons of silicon anode within a year — it can supply domestically-produced batteries to the entire American market by 2024. NanoGraf will also get a 10% tax credit for domestic production thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.
“The Department of Defense is incredibly supportive of U.S. manufacturing, as it’s in the interest of national security,” explained Connor Hund, NanoGraf’s chief operating officer. “We’re providing lighter batteries for soldiers to carry, and battery cells on soldiers isn’t something the Department of Defense takes lightly.”
“The national security element of domestic battery manufacturing results in bipartisan support. Manufacturing is the hardest part — there’s a lot of great technology sitting in labs,” he said. “The DoD is catalyzing the growth of our company, and we need that growth to be ready for the EV revolution.”
The Department of Defense isn’t the only one that recognizes the critical importance of NanoGraf’s manufacturing capabilities. In 2019, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis automobile manufacturers granted the firm $7.5 million for research and development.
The state of Illinois will undoubtedly benefit from the new facility and its importance in electric vehicle battery production.
“Illinois is poised to become a leader in the electric vehicle revolution,” said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. “ With its groundbreaking research and production of lightweight, energy-dense batteries, NanoGraf is helping define the next generation of consumer and military vehicles.”
The company’s batteries will sustainably impact various vehicles, military applications, industrial equipment, and consumer electronics — each a part of the country’s green transformation.
“It is imperative to have a robust domestic supply chain for the battery industry, and as an American company, we are thrilled to help lead the way with our new Chicago manufacturing facility,” said Dr. Francis Wang, NanoGraf CEO. “In Illinois, we’re surrounded by civic and business leaders who are united to grow the battery supply chain and manufacturing industry here, and we’re confident that with this new facility, we can both drive this industry forward and bring new jobs and opportunities to Chicago.”