Georgia expands supply chain for electrification

Georgia appears to be on an aggressive course to move forward with a full electric vehicle (EV) supply chain, with a significant amount of activity in the past year alone.

Ascend Elements recently opened an electric vehicle battery recycling facility in the Peach State, around the time some electric vehicle and vehicle battery manufacturers announced they would be moving there.

Among the latest big news is this Korea-based company SungEel HiTech is also preparing to establish a presence in Georgia. The global recycling and raw materials supplier for lithium-ion batteries will invest $37 million in a new battery recycling facility under its subsidiary SungEel Recycling Park Georgia.

However, Georgia state officials and SungEel declined interviews waste360 has compiled several articles and documents reporting on the company and other activities promoting the state’s EV infrastructure.

Georgia reports that it had more than 30 “EV-related” projects bring in approximately $13.3 billion in investments since 2020. The state is home to approx 23 e-mobility companies and has more than 1,200 miles of federally designated EV-enabled alternative fuel corridors along its interstates and highways Georgian Ministry of Economic Development‘s (GDEcD) website.

There are plans for an expansion using $135 million in funding Georgia is expected to receive from the Biden administration Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

As one of the newest partners, SungEel will recycle used batteries and battery manufacturing scrap, including nickel, cobalt and lithium, using a process that is reported to have a metal recovery rate of more than 95 percent.

The plant that is to be at the location The Hayestone Brady Business Park in Toccoa, GA is expected to create 104 jobs. It is certified under the Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) program, That means it has been reviewed and approved for accelerated development. The planned start date of the operation is 2024.

Suk Jae Yim, representative of SungEel Recycling Park Georgia, touts SungEel’s entry into the state as “the final piece of the puzzle in building a sustainable ecosystem of Georgia’s electric vehicle supply chain.”

GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson said he believes the proximity of the global company’s new facility to other members of Georgia’s e-mobility ecosystem will be key to continued success.

Among the many companies already working to promote electrification in the region are sschool bus maker Blue Bird, which launched an all-electric bus in 2018; EV parts maker Solvay, which produces thermoplastic composites; and YKK USA, which manufactures fasteners for electric vehicle interiors.

Further regional developments in the field of electrification are in progress.

Hyundai Motor Group reportedly plans to break ground on an electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility in Georgia in January 2023 and to be operating at full capacity (around 300,000 units) by mid-2025 at the latest.

EV Manufacturer Rivian has a plant outside of Atlanta that is reported to start production in 2024 and will have one Annual capacity of 400,000 vehicles.

Much of the activity is being driven by incentives and policies designed to accelerate adoption, including an electric vehicle deployment (EVSE) tax credit for businesses to buy and install infrastructure when it’s available to the public. Discounts for installing Tier 2 chargers. And “plug-in EV charging” incentive for residents Promotion of night and very early morning charging of electric vehicles.

Much of the growth is attributed to interest from companies based in Korea like SungEel and established in the region like Enchem, Duckyang and EcoPro BM. Any of the three either manufactures technology related to batteries and energy storage systems or supplies materials such as nickel cathodes.

Much of the activity, whether with Korean or elsewhere based companies, will be fueled by SK Battery’s expansion into Georgia. SK Battery America’s $2.6 billion facility, now operational while expansion continues, will eventually be able to produce enough gigawatt-hours per year to power 430,000 vehicles, it said the Constitution of the Atlanta Journal.

“We chose Georgia primarily because of the growing electric vehicle and battery ecosystem in the state. Proximity to partners like SK Battery America is critical in the sustainable battery materials industry,” said Roger Lin, Ascend’s vice president of marketing and government relations. The Massachusetts-based company’s new Georgia facility is the largest of its kind in North America and is recyclable 30,000 tons of material and scrap for lithium-ion batteries per year, according to Ascend.

State officials expect the accelerated growth pattern to continue. Amid efforts to further strengthen activities, in 2021 Governor Brian Kemp launched the Electric Mobility and Innovation Alliance (EMIA), a statewide initiative between the public, private sectors and nonprofit organizations working to further electrification in Georgia to expand