Anyone following the auto industry knows there have been a lot of announcements related to manufacturing electric vehicles and the systems to support EVs, including battery systems.
Ford Motor Co. did its part to maintain the flow of news with its announcement Feb. 13 that it will spend $3.5 billion on a new battery plant in Michigan that will employ 2,500 people.
But if you're wondering what that means for the plastics industry, here's something to consider from Entek International, part of Lebanon, Ore.-based Entek Manufacturing Inc., which will build two plants to make lithium-ion battery separator film made using a proprietary polyethylene. The company recently won a federal grant to support the plants in Indiana and Alabama. (More details on those and other Entek growth coming in the next few weeks.)
During a visit with the media Feb. 10 at the company's new site in Henderson, Nev., Entek CEO Larry Keith said the first plant, in Indiana, will produce 1.4 billion square meters of separator film. In comparison, Entek makes 400 million square meters of separator film for all of its lead acid business globally — and it supplies those standard batteries globally.
"There's been about 1.1 terawatts of battery capacity announced," by companies such as Ford and Tesla, he said. "Our first plant will produce 1.4 billion square meters [of film]. To service 1.1 terawatts will require about 10 billion square meters of separator.
"So that's less than 20 percent [of the need] with phase one," he said. "There is a massive amount of plastics and separator that is going to be required to support this industry."