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Plant's debut boosts 'Made in USA' battery chain

By Bernardo Fallas
Phillips 66 Corporate Communications

Growing the U.S. battery supply chain is critically important to Phillips 66, and the company’s strategic investment in NOVONIX underscores its confidence in the battery industry’s future. 

That was the message Phillips 66 Senior Vice President and Chief Digital and Administrative Officer Zhanna Golodryga delivered at the recent opening of NOVONIX’s new synthetic graphite anode materials plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. 

“Phillips 66 and NOVONIX are actively playing a role in bringing the battery supply chain to the U.S.,” Golodryga said. “The raw materials we supply are critical to everything from smartphones to electric vehicles.”  

Golodryga joined U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, NOVONIX leaders, government officials and civic leaders at the November 22 event, which was held inside NOVONIX’s cavernous 400,000 square-foot facility along the Tennessee River. 

“We’re ushering in a new era of electrification,” NOVONIX CEO Chris Burns said. “We want to be part of leading that charge on the supply-chain side.” 

Aiming to significantly expand production

The retrofitted facility, dubbed Riverside Recharged, once manufactured nuclear turbines. It will soon employ 290 people and house production of high-capacity, long-life anode material used in the making of lithium-ion batteries that power everything from personal electronics to energy storage units to electric vehicles. 

NOVONIX is investing $160 million in the plant, with the goal of scaling production there to at least 10,000 metric tons per year by 2023. 

Phillips 66 is a leading global manufacturer of specialty coke, a precursor to the synthetic graphite anode material NOVONIX produces. The company became a major investor in NOVONIX in August, when it acquired a 16% stake through a $150 million share purchase. 

As part of their visit to Chattanooga, Golodryga, who was appointed to the NOVONIX board of directors in October, and Phillips 66 Vice President of Emerging Energy Heath DePriest toured NOVONIX’s other synthetic graphite facility nearby. 

‘A great day for America’ 

Back at Riverside, Secretary Granholm lauded NOVONIX’s decision to expand in Chattanooga, calling it “a great day for America.” While acknowledging that the supply chain for batteries and electric vehicles remains mostly abroad, Granholm noted that the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure law includes $7 billion to support supply chains related to electric vehicles. 

“(Bringing back supply chains) is, bar none, the way we get good-paying jobs in America, the way we diversify into the clean-energy sector and the way we make ourselves as a nation secure,” Granholm said. “The bottom line, though, is that it takes leadership to make this happen. We all want to raise up this ecosystem in the United States to make sure we are competitive globally.” 

Phillips 66, for one, is up to the task. 

“We look forward to incredible opportunities that we can all deliver together,” Golodryga said.