Orion S.A. breaks ground on battery materials plant in Texas

Orion S.A., a global specialty chemicals company, broke ground on a plant in La Porte, Texas (southeast of Houston) that will be the only facility in the US producing acetylene-based conductive additives for lithiumion batteries and other applications vital for the global shift to electrification.

The battery additives produced by Orion’s plant will have only one-tenth of the carbon footprint of other commonly used materials.

“Orion is already the sole producer of acetylene-based conductive additives in Europe. Our plant in La Porte will be a pivotal step toward strengthening the regional supply of conductive additives in the rapidly growing US battery market”, says Orion CEO Corning Painter.

Conductive additives in batteries nable a more efficient flow of electricity and extend the lifetime of lithiumion batteries. The material also plays an essential role in high-voltage cables used for wind and solar farms.

The additives produced at the La Porte plant will be made from acetylene, a colorless gas that Orion’s production process turns into powder with exceptional purity demanded by leading battery manufacturers. The acetylene will be supplied by a neighboring site owned by Equistar Chemicals LP, a subsidiary of LyondellBasell.

Orion’s plant in La Porte is similar to one the company has in the city of Berre-l’Étang in southern France. That facility also uses acetylene from LyondellBasell.

With the LaPorte project, key equipment procurement and off-site fabrication are already at an advanced stage. Field construction activities are ramping up, with the facility start-up expected in the second quarter of 2025.