Solar energy for cobalt sulfate production



Yuma County, Arizona has approved a solar-powered cobalt sulfate production facility. It produces 7,000 tons of cobalt per year with 28.4 MW of solar power.

EVelution Energy, a maker of battery materials for electric vehicles, has received approval from the Yuma County Board of Supervisors to develop a solar-powered cobalt sulfate production facility in Yuma County, Arizona. It is the first EV battery plant to generate on-site renewable energy in the United States.

The facility plans to produce 7,000 tons of cobalt per year and requires 28.4 MW of solar power generation systems to be installed on 105 acres of the company’s 139-acre property in Yuma. The cobalt processing plant’s estimated power needs are about 6 MW, which allows the company to sell excess electricity during the day to a local utility in the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation District, vice president and general counsel Gil Michel-Garcia. About EVelution, we were told pv-lehti USA.

EVelution estimates it will begin construction of the refinery in 2024. It estimates it will be fully operational by 2026, when it will employ 360 full-time employees, the company said.

Currently, the area’s primary source of power is hydropower from Parker Dam, whose water level has dropped due to the drought, Michel-Garcia said. As a result, the district has expressed interest in purchasing an additional 6 MW of power generation and the possibility of acquiring more in the future, Michel-Garcia said.

“We expect the surrounding agricultural community to benefit from the availability of affordable, locally produced clean electricity,” he said, adding that EVelution’s facility is expected to cost about $200 million to build.

The production plant for battery materials for electric cars uses an atmospheric leaching process, which requires a significant amount of peak energy to heat the water. In typical leaching facilities, heating is typically done with natural gas or propone heaters, while EVelution plans to use solar energy to heat and store water in large hot water tanks, Michel-Garcia explained. The tanks store heated water for use in their processing plant overnight and thus also reduce district heating’s nighttime power demand, he said.

According to Michel-Garcia, EVelution plans to install approximately 24 MW (96 MWh) of battery storage capacity with excess generation capacity to manage the peak power sold to Wellton-Mohawk during the day and to store excess solar energy to further reduce the need for night-time excess power.

To connect the cobalt processing plant to the grid, EVelution will pay the district to build a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line to connect the local substation, which requires an interconnection agreement with the district for purchase and sale. of power, Michel-Garcia said.

The company is currently negotiating the conclusion of a procurement contract for the pricing of excess solar electricity and the pricing of electricity delivery in the evenings, as well as the construction of a 34.5 kV power transmission line to connect it to processing. facility, he said.

As a US-based company, Michel-Garcia said EVelution is the first company to build a carbon-neutral cobalt sulfate production facility in the US with on-site production. The company’s goal is to combat climate change, boost production in the United States, and reduce our economic dependence on other countries for battery materials for electric cars.

Currently, about 70% of the world’s battery-grade cobalt sulfate for electric cars comes from China, and Finland and Indonesia produce most of the rest. EVelution Energy hopes to supply 40 percent of the EV battery-grade cobalt sulfate needed by U.S. EVs by 2027, Michel-Garcia said.

“What’s interesting about this project is the combination of various tax incentives that have recently become available in the United States to make green infrastructure projects like this possible,” he said.

EVelution Energy will cover the costs of the solar energy investment tax credit for the on-site solar power plant as well as Section 45X of the Inflation Reduction Act. This Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit (PTC) applies up to $31 billion in tax credits to the production of cathode and anode materials used in lithium-ion batteries and advanced battery minerals sourced from the United States.

According to the company’s tax filing, EVelution must recapture either or both IRA sections 45X or 48C, Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit. The energy project credit is a one-time ITC that corresponds to 30% of the capital invested in the electric car battery processing plant.

Prior to founding EVelution in October 2021, co-founder and CEO Navaid Alam was CEO of commodities trading company Cobham Capital for 21 years and was also a lawyer at Clifford Chance and other firms. Michel-Garcia also spent four years at Cobham Capital after practicing law at various firms for over two decades.

In October 2022, EVelution signed a letter of intent to cooperate with Trafigura on the supply of raw materials and the marketing of cobalt sulfate and nickel sulfate from the Arizona plant.

David is a passionate writer and researcher who specializes in solar energy. He has a strong background in engineering and environmental science, which gives him a deep understanding of the science behind solar power and its benefits. David writes about the latest developments in solar technology and provides practical advice for homeowners and businesses who are interested in switching to solar.

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