Cantwell, Energy Sec. Granholm Visit New Moses Lake Factories Primed to Make EVs More Practical and Affordable

Companies expect to add a combined 700+ jobs; new partnership announced with local schools to help train & skill needed workforce; Technology from Moses Lake factories can help make electric vehicles cost less and go further on each charge using domestically sourced materials

MOSES LAKE, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited Moses Lake to tour a pair of new battery component manufacturing facilities and to discuss opportunities to expand clean energy manufacturing and job growth in Central Washington. Each of the new facilities being opened by technology pioneers Sila Nanotechnologies and Group14 Technologies received $100 million Energy Department grants in 2022 using funding Sen. Cantwell helped authorize in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

"It is a very, very exciting moment for Moses Lake and the State of Washington, you are really becoming a testbed for next generation energy technologies that are going to help our nation be competitive in the future," said Sen. Cantwell. "America's competitiveness depends on next generation innovation and scaling that to a level that makes America competitive in the manufacturing sector. This really is how America brings manufacturing jobs back to the United States -- so important for growing the middle class, so important for us and our competitiveness as a nation.”

“I want to just express my gratitude to your senators, but Sen. Cantwell has just been such a leader on science and innovation, and the CHIPS & Science Act as well,"  said Secretary Granholm.  "Unbelievable leadership that you have here in Washington to be the tip of the spear of where the country is going on clean energy. And Moses Lake! You guys are like the center of the universe! What is happening here? It is amazing.”

Sen. Cantwell, Secretary Granholm, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee kicked off their day in Moses Lake with a tour of Sila Nanotechnologies’ new facility, followed by a roundtable discussion that included leaders from Sila, Big Bend Community College, the Grant County Economic Development Council, REC Silicon, Obsidian Renewables, Grant County Public Utility District, and the Bonneville Power Administration. At the roundtable, Sila announced a new training partnership with Big Bend Community College and the Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center that will support workforce development for battery manufacturing. As part of the partnership agreements, $2 million of Sila’s DOE award will fund the creation of scholarships, internships, coaching, and hands-on curriculum programs at Big Bend and CBTECH. These workforce programs will enroll more than two dozen students by the end of this year, with courses beginning early next year.

Sen. Cantwell, Secretary Granholm, and Gov. Inslee then traveled to Group14 Technologies, where they took a tour of the company’s Battery Active Materials Factory followed by a press conference featuring Group14 leaders.

In October 2022, DOE announced that Sila and Group14 would each receive $100 million from a new BIL program intended to spur domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and the electric grid. The grants came from the DOE’s Battery Materials Processing and Battery Component Manufacturing & Recycling program, which Sen. Cantwell championed during negotiations leading to passage of the BIL.

Both companies focus on producing silicon anodes that can replace the conventional graphite anodes commonly used in today’s electric vehicle batteries and already have supply arrangements with some of the world largest automakers. Silicon anodes should enable less expensive and more energy dense battery packs and can be built using materials sourced in the U.S., providing an alternative to China’s overwhelming dominance of the international graphite market. According to the companies, these advances in battery technology could enable future EVs to charge in under 10 minutes and have a range of 500 miles or more between charges.

Sila Nanotechnologies, based in Alameda, CA, invested $300 million of their own money, along with the $100 million from DOE, to build out their 600,000-square-foot Moses Lake facility to full capacity. The new factory – which is not yet operational -- will produce enough materials to power 200,000 electric vehicles, making Sila’s plant the largest silicon anode production facility in the world. Sila expects to hire and train more than 500 new employees over the next five years. Sen. Cantwell celebrated the project’s groundbreaking in November 2023.

Group14 Technologies Inc., based in Woodinville, invested $223 million of their own money, along with the $100 million from DOE, to build two 2,000 ton per year commercial manufacturing modules in Moses Lake. The factories, which are expected to fully open later this year, will produce silicon-carbon composite anodes for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles. The project is expected to create an additional 200 technical and operational jobs to commission, ramp up, and sustain production.

B-roll of the company tours is available HERE; video of Sen. Cantwell’s opening remarks at the roundtable at Sila is HERE and Secretary Granholm’s is HERE; video of the press conference at Group14 is HERE; a transcript of Sen. Cantwell’s remarks at both companies is HERE; photos of the day are HERE.