Korean company to build $102M chemical recycling plant in Kokomo
The electric vehicle supply chain is continuing to grow in Kokomo. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. announced Wednesday that South Korea-based Jaewon Industrial (JWA) plans to invest $102 million to build a chemical recycling operation in the Howard County city and create up to 100 jobs by the end of 2024.
The project will be carried out in two phases and result in three facilities being built on a 30-acre site at 100 East in Kokomo, primarily to disperse conductive slurry, which is used in the production of lithium-ion batteries.
The first phase will include the construction of a 65,000-square-foot facility, as well as a second facility to recycle n-methylpyrrolidone, or NMP, a solvent used in a variety of applications, including paint and coating removal, electronic cleaning, and industrial cleaning, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
At full capacity, JWA said it will be able to recycle up to 100,000 tons of NMP to electric-grade material.
The company is finalizing plans for the second phase of construction, which will see a 150,000-square-foot facility being built, which will also be used to disperse conductive slurry.
“The secondary battery and semiconductor industries in North America have been seeing rapid growth over the last few years,” Jaewon Industrial CEO Jaewon Shim said in a news release. “By establishing a presence in Indiana, we hope to help secure Indiana as the center of the North American secondary battery and semi-conductor supply chains.”
JWA expects to break ground on the project in June, with operations anticipated to begin in 2024. The company plans to begin hiring for plant managers, engineers and operators when the first facility is up and running.
The IEDC said the operation will serve battery manufacturers in Indiana, including the $2.5 billion EV battery plant currently being built in Kokomo by StarPlus Energy, a joint venture between global automaker Stellantis and Samsung SDI in South Korea.
The Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance helped secure the land for the project in partnership with the city of Kokomo and Howard County. CEO Lori Dukes said the community’s commitment to the StarPlus development continues to pay dividends.
“The availability of land is what put the community in a more solid position to compete for the Stellantis/Samsung SDI development and that holds true again with this announcement,” Dukes said in a statement to IIB. “Today’s announcement by Jaewon Industrial takes Kokomo one step closer to positioning itself to be a global leader in the battery industry. The injection of jobs and investment into our community will have a transformational economic impact for generations to come.”
The IEDC has offered JWA up to $2.5 million in conditional tax credits and training grants, as well as up to $500,000 in Manufacturing Readiness Grants. The company will not be eligible to claim the incentives until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs.
The announcement comes a month after Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers visited South Korea to represent Indiana in the InterBattery Conference and highlight the state’s growing battery and EV industry.
“Indiana’s electric vehicle ecosystem continues to accelerate, and we’re excited to welcome JWA to our growing, future-focused economy,” said Chambers. “With the addition of JWA, Hoosiers will be supporting the full lifecycle of energy storage and electric vehicle production – from R&D to production to recycling – helping usher in the global energy transition and shared sustainability goals.”
JWA is not the first supplier to announce plans to set up shop in Indiana following the Stellantis announcement. In December, Michigan-based Soulbrain MI said it would invest $75 million to build a manufacturing facility in Kokomo to produce high purity electrolyte for the production of EV batteries at the Stellantis plant.