Earlier this month, reports emerged suggesting that Tesla is considering the Gulf Coast of Texas as a potential location for a battery-grade lithium hydroxide refining facility. In its application filed with the Texas Comptroller’s Office, Tesla noted that the facility would be the “first of its kind in North America.”
While Tesla seems to be seriously considering the project, the facility is yet to be confirmed by the electric vehicle maker. That being said, the EV maker’s application seems to be moving forward. According to a report from Kris 6 News Corpus Christi, a public meeting on the potential Tesla facility is set to be held next week.
Residents of the area could talk to County Commissioners about the possible lithium refinery so they can voice their opinions about the potential project. Nueces County Commissioners would hold a special meeting on Monday at 2 p.m. local time.
In its application, Tesla noted that its potential lithium refinery could be located anywhere with anywhere with access to the Gulf Coast shipping channel. Thanks to this, the facility’s output can be “packaged and shipped by truck and rail to various Tesla battery manufacturing sites supporting the necessary supply chain for large-scale and electric vehicle batteries.”
The facility would be fairly small compared to the company’s car plants, with Tesla’s application stating that the lithium refinery would probably employ over 160 workers. A possible site for the project was listed in the south of the South Texas city of Robstown on U.S. Highway 77 and County Road 28. If this site is selected, Tesla estimates that early construction can begin around late 2022, with operations starting around Q4 2024, according to the Caller Times.
Similar to Tesla’s other facilities, the potential lithium refinery in Texas would be designed with sustainability in mind. “The process Tesla will use is innovative and designed to consume less hazardous reagents and create usable byproducts compared to the conventional process,” Tesla’s application noted.