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Lancaster EV battery recycling plant to receive $75 million federal grant for expansion

An electric vehicle charging.

The planned expansion of a lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Lancaster promises to bring about 150 new jobs to central Ohio.

The Biden Administration announced Wednesday the plant will receive a $75 million federal grant for the project, as part of a national strategy to get more electric vehicles on the road.

Shane Thompson is Executive Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at Cirba Solutions, the company that owns the Lancaster plant.

"As the economy is growing towards more electric vehicles, more batteries to be a part of that supply chain," Thompson said. "It's very exciting, and a tremendous validation of Cirba Solutions in our operations there in Lancaster."

When you talk about electric vehicles, Thompson said, you're really talking about batteries. And when you talk about batteries, you're really talking about minerals.

To get those minerals, you can mine them out of the ground. But, Thompson said, it's better for business and the planet to chop up existing, spent batteries and extract their component materials.

"What we're doing, and what this grant will enable us to do is to continue to refine that material, pull out the lithium, pull out the manganese and make materials that are now specifically designed to go back into the battery supply chain," he said.

When the expansion is complete, it's estimated the roughly 150,000-square-foot Lancaster facility will be able to produce enough raw materials to power more than 200,000 new EVs annually.

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.