CORPUS CHRISTI, TX—Tesla has begun construction of a $1 billion factory here to produce lithium hydroxide for electric vehicle batteries.
The 1,200-acre site will be the location of the first industrial deployment of an acid-free lithium refining process. This process eliminates the use of hazardous reagents and byproducts in favor of more inert options. The byproduct from this facility, a mixture of sand and limestone, will be useful in the production of construction materials, so the facility will produce less waste.
In the future, the facility will also be able to process other intermediate lithium feedstocks, including recycled batteries and manufacturing scrap.
The construction effort will create nearly 1,000 construction jobs, and the facility will employ upwards of 250 full-time employees, including production technicians, operations managers and engineering roles to support maintenance and optimization.
It’s unclear what volume of lithium the facility will process annually, or from where Tesla will source lithium ore. In addition to refining its own lithium, Tesla intends to continue purchasing the metal from outside suppliers, including Albemarle Corp and Livent Corp.To create a talent pipeline for its new factory, Tesla is investing in the Robstown Independent School District, apprenticeship pathways at Del Mar Community College, and internship opportunities with Texas A&M Corpus Christi.