Three recently announced advanced manufacturing projects — one in the carbon fiber bicycle and two in the lithium-ion battery industries — will create a total of over $1.6 billion in investment and more than 700 jobs in Spartanburg, Chester, and Richland counties, South Carolina.
TIME Bicycles will invest $6.5 million to establish its first South Carolina operations in Spartanburg County, where it will build the nation’s largest carbon fiber bicycle factory. The France-based company plans to create 105 new jobs. A subsidiary of Cardinal Cycling Group (CCG), TIME pioneered carbon fiber technology in professional cycling and manufactures bicycles that have won Olympic gold, multiple world championships, the Paris-Roubaix and numerous stages of the Tour de France.
“After two years of planning, we are thrilled to announce Spartanburg County as the TIME USA factory location,” said TIME Bicycles Chief Executive Officer Tony Karklins. “The infrastructure that exists within this region for advanced manufacturing is unrivaled. Through our collaboration with Clemson University, KraussMaffei and The SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance, we look to produce the most advanced carbon fiber bicycles in the world, with technologies and partnerships in place to rival production out of Asia.”
TIME plans to renovate an existing 140,000-square-foot factory located on 30 acres in Landrum. The company will extend the capabilities of its European factory and produce industry leading carbon fiber bicycles and components using TIME’s exclusive resin transfer molding technology in conjunction with Clemson University, KraussMaffei and the SC Competes SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance initiative. Renovations are expected to begin next month, with operations expected to be begin in the fourth quarter.
“It’s always a great day when a renowned company such as TIME Bicycles decides to invest in our state,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “TIME Bicycles’ $6.5 million investment will provide new opportunities for our people, and we congratulate them on making history in South Carolina.”
The South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits for the project, and awarded a $400,000 Set-Aside grant to Spartanburg County to help with building improvements.
“TIME is a globally known brand, and they’re bringing some serious technology to their Landrum facility,” said Spartanburg County Councilman and Economic Development Committee Chairman David Britt. “Along with the impact of the investment and jobs, this will surely put Spartanburg on the global map for cycling. Many thanks to all of our partners – PAL, CUICAR, SCRA, SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance – for helping us roll out the red carpet for TIME Bicycles.”
“We are thrilled that The SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance will enable TIME Bicycles to begin revolutionizing the cycling industry upon their arrival in the state,” commented SC Council on Competitiveness President and CEO Susie Shannon. “Known for pushing the advanced technology envelope, TIME has found just what they needed in our state’s technical applied research expertise and advanced composite materials suppliers, making it the perfect example of the advanced circular economy.”
Albemarle Invests In Chester County “Mega-Flex”
Albemarle Corporation will invest at least $1.3 billion to establish South Carolina operations in Chester County. The North Carolina-based company, which transforms essential resources such as lithium and bromine into critical ingredients for mobility, energy, connectivity and health, will create more than 300 new jobs to build a new “Mega-Flex” lithium hydroxide processing facility. The facility will support the surging demand for electric vehicles and other energy storage applications that use lithium-ion batteries.
Albemarle’s new “Mega-Flex” conversion facility, to be located on nearly 800 acres near Richburg, will support the fast-growing global electric vehicle and energy storage markets. The term “Mega-Flex” refers to the facility’s ability to process diverse lithium feedstock, including lithium from recycled batteries. The new facility is expected to annually produce approximately 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from multiple sources, with the potential to reach up to 100,000 metric tons.
“Albemarle is focused on meeting growing customer demand and this investment is part of our global commitment to transforming essential resources into critical ingredients that enable a more resilient world,” said Albemarle Corporation CEO Kent Masters. “We wanted a location with access to nearby rail and port transportation and the availability of skilled workers. We’re excited to have chosen South Carolina and to be closer to our customers as the supply chain is built out in North America.”
Construction is expected to begin in 2024. The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to this project and awarded a $9 million Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF) grant to Chester County to assist with the costs of mitigation, site preparation and infrastructure improvements.
“Albemarle is a global leader in providing products and solutions that help advance innovation,” said South Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary Harry M. Lightsey III. “The company’s significant investment in Chester County demonstrates to the world that South Carolina is poised to support resilient energy operations, especially the growing electric vehicle supply chain.”
“We are excited to welcome Albemarle to the I-77 region!” commented I-77 Alliance Interim President and CEO Christopher Finn. “Albemarle is a great fit for Chester County, which offers dual-rail capabilities through the L&C Railroad, a labor shed of 1.3 million people, and the ability to serve virtually any industrial natural gas load. With this announcement, the I-77 Alliance region is quickly becoming a corridor of R&D and innovation within the EV industry. We look forward to working with Albemarle as they establish operations in Chester County.”
Cirba Solutions Grows In Richland County
In Richland County, Cirba Solutions will invest more than $300 million into Phase 1 of a world-class, lithium-ion electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling flagship facility. A battery materials and management company for end-of-life batteries and gigafactory scrap, Cirba Solutions will invest over $1 billion in the next five years to expand the infrastructure required to meet the growing demand for critical materials needed for EV batteries.
This will be Cirba Solutions’ eighth operational facility in North America and its fourth facility strategically located in the U.S. “Battery Belt,” an area where more than 15 new lithium-ion battery gigafactories or expansions have been announced between Michigan and Georgia since 2021. This flagship, industry-leading facility will bring critical battery materials to the U.S. and will focus on processing end-of-life hybrid and electric vehicle batteries, gigafactory scrap and end-of-life consumer batteries to extract critical materials, such as nickel, cobalt and lithium. These key metals will support the domestic lithium-ion battery supply chain and provide enough premium recycled, battery-grade materials to power over 500,000 EV batteries annually.
“The State of South Carolina and Richland County have been tremendous partners in supporting Cirba Solutions’ strategy to build a sustainable battery materials supply chain,” said David Klanecky, President and CEO of Cirba Solutions. “We are proud to bring this battery materials mega-site to Richland County, which will create generational jobs in the state and support an amazing community. Additionally, it shows our commitment to provide sustainably sourced and domestic battery-grade raw materials for cathode production in North America.”
Located at Pineview Industrial Park in Columbia, SC, the more than 200-acre battery materials campus will create over 300 jobs. Groundbreaking will take place this year, with operations expected to begin in late 2024. The South Carolina campus is in addition to Cirba Solutions’ expanded Lancaster, OH and Trail, British Columbia facilities that have been processing batteries for decades.
“South Carolina has worked hard to create a business environment where the electric vehicle industry can thrive, and with announcements like this it is most certainly paying off,” said Gov. McMaster. “We are proud to have Cirba Solutions as a partner as we continue to grow our already booming electric vehicle industry.”
Cirba Solutions’s new facility will also be used as an educational and professional training center. The company will bring critical knowledge and decades of experience to the community by highlighting processing technology for end-of-life batteries. This facility will have a keen focus on clean energy, ensuring thoughtful operational practices are used in processing these materials and converting them back into reusable battery materials.
“We are thrilled to be expanding our footprint and partnering with the state of South Carolina. This flagship battery materials site is crucial to the success of North America’s battery supply chain and is strategically located to support our partners,” said Luke Kissam, Chairman of Cirba Solutions’ Board.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits for the project, and also awarded a $3 million Set-Aside grant to Richland County to assist with the costs of site preparation and building construction.
“Today’s announcement reinforces what we have all been watching locally and statewide – the electric vehicle industry is poised to succeed here,” commented Central SC Alliance Chairman Matthew Shaffer. “As the industry’s presence grows, so does the need for companies like Cirba Solutions. Today, we celebrate Cirba Solutions’ future as part of the Richland County community and commend our partners in the county on this win.”