ENTEK, a US-owned producer of “wet-process” Li-ion battery separator materials, announced that it has received a conditional commitment of up to $1.2bn from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loans Programmes Office.

The loan will be used to finance ENTEK’s new facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, which will manufacture Li-ion battery separators to be used in electric vehicles (EVs).

In a press statement, ENTEK said the project “will strengthen and onshore the lithium-ion battery cell supply chain, enabling the creation of batteries used in advanced technology vehicles for EV propulsion”.

A battery separator is a microporous membrane that sits between the anode and cathode of a battery. It is designed to prevent electronic conduction between the anode and cathode while permitting ionic conduction via the electrolyte. ENTEK therefore stated that its separators play an essential role in the performance and safety of Li-ion batteries.

Larry Keith, CEO of ENTEK, said: “There has never been a more exciting time to be a manufacturer in the battery industry. For 40 years, ENTEK has been serving the battery separator needs of its customers with a commitment to productivity and innovation that our customers require for their battery applications.”

Based on ENTEK’s calculations, the project will support around 1.9 million mid-size EVs or 1.3 million eSUVs.

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“ENTEK is a technology company at its core with expertise in equipment design and fabrication, process technologies and materials science. This combination makes ENTEK the right company to lead the US expansion of separator manufacturing,” said Richard Pekala, ENTEK’s chief technology officer.

ENTEK also highlighted that the project will support the Biden administration’s Investing in America agenda. It will help US battery manufacturers satisfy the Inflation Reduction Act’s domestic content rules under the 30D Clean Vehicle Credit.