US expansions: DuPont opens FFKM production in Delaware; Orbia/Solvay in jv to build PVDF capacity for lithium-ion batteries

DuPont opens FFKM production in Delaware

US materials firm DuPont has announced the official opening of its new FFKM Kalrez manufacturing site in Newark, Delaware, to meet growing global customer demand from the semiconductor and industrials sectors.

The new facility, the Tralee Park Annex, will significantly expand DuPont’s Kalrez perfluoroelastomer (FFKM) parts capacity. The site also features a high-end ISO Class 6 Cleanroom, upgraded manufacturing equipment, optimized facility layout and space to support future business growth. From chemical processing to semiconductor chip manufacturing, DuPont says its elastomers are engineered to provide more stability, resistance, and effective sealing.

“We are thrilled to open this new state-of-the-art facility to support the growth of our customers,” said Brian Ammons, Global Business Director for Kalrez. “We are committed to partnering with our customers on innovation and pride ourselves on driving operational excellence and delivering supply reliability and consistent superiority in quality performance. The Tralee Park Annex is a prime example of how we are delivering on these core competencies. This facility also advances our sustainability agenda as it integrates a state-of-the-art energy, IT infrastructure and building layout that minimises energy consumption and maximises efficiency and productivity.”

In addition to more capacity, the Tralee Park Annex enables faster cycle times, and offers expanded areas for finishing, inspection, packaging and shipping that will support higher capacity for customers globally.

“Through close collaboration between DuPont and our contractor partners, the new facility was completed on time and within budget” said Nathan Whitmoyer, Plant Manager for Tralee Park and Tralee Park Annex. “The site will create approximately 50 new positions, including operations, maintenance, engineering and continuous improvement roles – many of which are STEM-related and critical to safe manufacturing operations.”

Whitmoyer added, “This expansion demonstrates DuPont’s commitment to our manufacturing presence here in Delaware, the state DuPont has called home for more than 220 years.”

Orbia/Solvay in jv to build PVDF capacity for lithium-ion batteries

In other news, Orbia’s Fluorinated Solutions business and Belgian chemical firm Solvay have signed their joint venture agreement to create the largest polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) production facilities for battery materials in the North America region. This partnership brings security of supply with Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) compliant materials and leading-edge PVDF technology together for solutions that are critical to the North American electric vehicle (EV) transition.

With significant expected growth of the US EV and stationary energy storage market, demand for lithium-ion batteries will grow considerably and necessitate a robust, secure and local supply chain. The Orbia-Solvay partnership secures supply of critical minerals and intermediate materials from Orbia, from which Solvay will manufacture suspension-grade PVDF: a lithium-ion binder and separator coating in electric vehicle batteries. Solvay brings process technology and global market know-how to this venture. In combination, Solvay’s Solef PVDF innovations and Orbia’s material assets and production expertise will enable delivery of PVDF that allows electric vehicles to go further on each charge, extends battery life and improves battery safety in turn.

Said Ilham Kadri, CEO of Solvay, "We are proud of this important project, which is a key milestone in our electrification strategy, emphasising our global commitment to sustainable mobility. Our partnership with Orbia puts us in the driving seat to shore up an independent, sustainable EV battery supply chain in North America and create clean energy jobs."

"Our partnership with Solvay underscores our continued commitment to enabling the clean energy transition with our investments in energy materials. Orbia has a unique 'mine-to-market' position with integration in key battery materials needed to bolster North America's EV supply chain and be IRA- compliant," said Sameer Bharadwaj, CEO of Orbia.

Orbia and Solvay intend to use two production sites: one in Augusta, Georgia for finished products and one in St. Gabriel, Louisiana for raw material conversion to needed intermediates. Both plants are expected to be operational in 2026.

The company’s participation in this joint venture contributes to the company’s overall strategic position as a key supplier of battery materials, including electrolyte salts such as LiPF6, custom electrolyte formulations, specialty battery additives and recycled anodes.

Orbia operates in the Polymer Solutions (Vestolit and Alphagary), Building and Infrastructure (Wavin), Precision Agriculture (Netafim), Connectivity Solutions (Dura-Line) and Fluorinated Solutions (Koura) sectors. The five Orbia business groups have a collective focus on expanding access to health and well-being, reinventing the future of cities and homes, ensuring food, water, and sanitation security, connecting communities to information and enabling the energy transition with basic and advanced materials, specialty products and innovative solutions.

Orbia has a global team of over 24,000 employees, commercial activities in more than 100 countries and operations in over 50, with global headquarters in Boston, Mexico City, Amsterdam, and Tel Aviv. The company generated US$9.6 billion in revenue in 2022.


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