Musk breaks ground at Tesla lithium refinery
Joined by Governor Abbott (R), Musk breaks ground at the site of the Tesla’s $375 million lithium refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, after arriving in a Cybertruck with shovels strapped to the sides. Tesla says the facility will help it secure a domestic supply of lithium hydroxide, a key ingredient used to make its batteries. Musk says the availability of battery-grade lithium is a “fundamental chokepoint” for the electric vehicle industry and others. Tesla aims to produce enough battery-grade lithium at the refinery to manufacture one million vehicles per year, and to produce more lithium than the rest of North America’s refining capacity combined there.
Tesla promises it will use an “innovative” process, designed to consume less hazardous reagents, such as hydrochloric acid, and create “beneficial use opportunities” from byproducts, which they expect to be mostly sand and limestone. However, the company did not disclose the specific chemistry it would rely upon for processing. Musk:
There’s no toxic emissions or anything — you could live right in the middle of the refinery and not suffer any ill effects.
Abbott praises Musk as the greatest entrepreneur on Earth, saying:
Texas wants to be able to be self-reliant, not dependent upon any foreign hostile nation for what we need.
Increasing lithium refining capacity is critical to a sustainable energy economy—today, we're breaking ground on our in-house lithium refinery outside of Corpus Christi, TX.
This facility will also prioritize the elimination of a challenging refinery byproduct (sodium sulfate).… pic.twitter.com/mBnDBLNrW7
— Tesla (@Tesla) May 8, 2023