HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. — Microvast Advanced Membrane Inc. will locate a new facility in Hopkinsville with a $504 million investment creating 562 full-time jobs.
The new operation, which will be Microvast’s first in Kentucky, will locate in Commerce Park II in Hopkinsville and consist of a 350,000-square-foot building on 100 acres. With this operation, Microvast intends to build the world’s first mass production facility for its cutting-edge polyaramid separator technology. Polyaramid is a high temperature-resistant, fire-retardant aromatic polyamide, which is commonly used in firefighting garments and insulating papers. The material was part of a United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) technical assessment project, which independently confirmed through U.S. National Labs the polyaramid separator’s specifications and positive impacts on device safety. This facility will help integrate the product into EV battery designs, including Microvast’s cells as well as those of other third-party battery manufacturers. Construction is expected to begin this year and be completed by March 2025.
“We are excited to announce this next chapter for Microvast, as we intend to build the world’s first mass production facility for our cutting-edge polyaramid separator technology,” said Yang Wu, Microvast’s founder, chairman, president, and chief executive officer. “This material took over 10 years to develop internally, and we believe it offers significant safety advantages compared to other polypropylene or polyethylene separator technology available today. We are pleased to expand our manufacturing footprint into Kentucky and are eager to work closely with the local community as we begin construction.”
Microvast holds unique, patented wet-process technology to produce a thin polyaramid base film. Unlike the current widely used polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) based separators in lithium-ion batteries, which melt at approximately 135°C and 165°C, respectively, Microvast’s patented polyaramid separator is capable of resisting temperatures in excess of 300°C. This high-temperature resistance, combined with high porosity, excellent wettability and electrolyte retention, improves the overall safety, fast charging and cycle-life of lithium-ion batteries in EVs as well as other applications.
Headquartered in Stafford, Texas, Microvast is a battery solutions provider recognized globally as an industry leader in lithium-ion battery innovation and technology. A vertically integrated manufacturer – producing materials, individual battery cells and commercial vehicle and energy storage systems – Microvast built its reputation on the development of safe, long-life, fast-charging batteries for commercial vehicles, such as buses, port vehicles and construction trucks. The company has three existing production sites worldwide, including its 2 gigawatt-plus site in Clarksville, Tennessee, that is expected to start production in late 2023. To build its expertise in all levels of the battery manufacturing supply chain, research centers in Europe, Asia and the United States have generated more than 630 patent applications (over 400 granted to date) on technology covering the anode, cathode, electrolyte, separator, battery cell design, battery module and pack, BMS and thermal management. To date, over 30,000 Microvast battery systems are in operation in 28 countries with over 6.9 billion miles of operational distance covered.
Microvast’s investment helps solidify Kentucky’s position as a leader within the burgeoning EV sector, with significant investment throughout the past three years. Since June 2020, the commonwealth has seen over $10.5 billion in EV-related investments, with more than 9,700 full-time jobs announced.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $18 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $504 million and annual targets of:
Creation and maintenance of 562 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
Paying an average hourly wage of $25 including benefits across those jobs.