McCarthy Building Companies has broken ground on a $400 million lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery materials plant in St. Louis.

The new facility is for ICL, a specialty minerals company, which says it will be the first commercial-scale LFP battery materials manufacturing plant in the United States. The 140,000-sq-ft plant will produce 30,000 metric tons for use in batteries that can store energy needed to run electric vehicles, charging stations or on the electric grid. 

The new plant will be located on ICL’s existing Carondelet campus in the city, and will create 800 to 900 union construction jobs. 

The project broke ground in August and is moving forward quickly. 

“The design-build team is implementing collaborative work sessions with our client to fully understand the production flow and equipment requirements,” said Kristyn Newbern, project development director at McCarthy. “Our team's collaboration will be paramount to the design and construction of this project.”

“Our team is proactively working with the entire plant project to identify key schedule acceleration strategies to implement as we progress,” she added. 

ICL is using a $197 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy for construction of the plant. 

By 2031, research firm E Source forecasts global demand for iron phosphate-based cathode active materials will reach more than 3 million tons, for a market value of more than $40 billion, due to a shift toward the lower-cost cathode materials used in more affordable EVs and in energy storage solutions.

The groundbreaking was attended by Jennifer Granholm, secretary of the Dept. of Energy and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. 

The facility is expected to be operational by 2025.