The US Southeast is getting its first EV battery supply chain project

Japan’s UBE Corporation will build an EV battery chemicals factory in Louisiana to set up a US EV battery supply chain – and compete with China.

Chemical company UBE Corporation will invest $500 million to build the first US manufacturing facility for EV lithium-ion battery ingredients dimethyl carbonate (DMC) and ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC) in New Orleans.

There are currently no DMC nor EMC production facilities in the US.

DMC and EMC act as solvents in an EV lithium-ion battery’s electrolyte, enhancing ionic conductivity and facilitating the efficient transport of lithium ions between the anode and cathode during charging and discharging cycles. That contributes to extended battery life and increased driving range. 

UBE Corporation says its New Orleans factory is “intended to bolster the domestic battery components supply chain by reducing the current heavy reliance on Chinese imports.”

Masato Izumihara, president and representative director of UBE, said:

UBE’s proprietary nitrite process, which we have been developing since the 1970s, enables us to realize a very limited environmental impact and much fewer byproducts compared to other existing plants and processes, particularly in mainland China.

(In July 2022, UBE said it was planning to establish a DMC and EMC joint venture and licensing business in China.)

The Tokyo-headquartered company has formed a new company called UBE C1 Chemicals America (UCCA) for its new US venture. UCCA is expected to create nine direct new jobs, and 47 direct new jobs will be created at Cornerstone Chemical Company, which is already based in Jefferson Parish. Cornerstone’s labor force, raw materials, and logistic capabilities will support UBE operations during the transition period.

UBE estimates its new factory will be capable of producing 100,000 metric tons of DMC per year and 40,000 metric tons of EMC derived from DMC annually. 

The factory will be sited at Cornerstone Energy Park in Jefferson Parish, in the Greater New Orleans area, and around 300 construction jobs will be created. It’s expected to break ground before the end of the year, and the factory is due to come online in late 2026.

Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, said:

It is an honor to welcome such a well-respected, multi-generational Japanese company to Jefferson Parish.

UBE’s new facility furthers Louisiana’s emergence as a leading location for future energy projects by establishing the first electric vehicle battery supply chain project in the Southeast region.

UBE’s operations will also bolster national security efforts by serving as the only US site to provide these critical elements of the country’s energy supply chain.

Read more: Louisiana trailblazes with the US’s first state-water offshore wind farms


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