Another battery maker picks Kentucky to set up shop

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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For the second time this week, a company that makes components for electric vehicle batteries has announced its intention to build a production plant in Kentucky.

On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced LOTTE Aluminum Materials USA plans to build a $238.7 million facility in Elizabethtown that’s expected to create 122 full-time jobs.

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The plant, slated to open in 2025, is expected to manufacture 36,000 tons of cathode foil, a very thin aluminum foil used as a core material for EV batteries.

“We will do our best to develop and support technology so that we can stably produce high-quality and high-efficiency cathode foils to respond to customers one step at a time,” said Kim Gyo Hyun, president and CEO of LOTTE Chemical.

LOTTE Chemical is partnering with LOTTE Aluminum, and both are subsidiaries of South Korean conglomerate LOTTE Group.

On Monday, Beshear announced Ascend Elements would build a $310 million plant in Hopkinsville. Ascend plans to recycle elements from old lithium-ion batteries and produce new components for EV batteries at that facility. The company expects to employ 250 full-time workers and start production in 2024.

And in the past year, Kentucky has landed two multi-billion-dollar EV battery production facilities. Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation picked Glendale, 10 miles south of Elizabethtown, for a $5.8 billion production facility expected to open in 2025 and employ 5,000 people.

Envision AESC plans to invest $2 billion in a battery production facility and hire 2,000 workers.

Those two projects represent the largest economic developments in Kentucky history, and Beshear said the state is getting spin-off benefits from those megaprojects.

“Further growth of this sector will require attraction of a broad range of suppliers, and this announcement by LOTTE signifies just that,” the governor said. “We are building an ecosystem that will last for generations to come, and I am happy to announce this company will be a very important part of that vision.”

In May, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved LOTTE for up to $3.3 million in tax incentives over 10 years. Those incentives are based on the company hitting its investment and employment targets.

The LOTTE jobs are expected to pay an average hourly wage of $23.35 with benefits.

KEDFA also approved LOTTE for $1 million in tax incentives that would allow the company to reclaim state sales taxes paid on construction costs as well as fixtures and equipment needed for the plant.