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April 21, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Three TN projects capture more than $507 million in energy project credits

All of the projects are in East Tennessee.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday released details for 35 projects across 20 states that voluntarily shared with DOE they received a total of $1.93 billion in allocations of the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit (48C) program, and more than one-fourth of those credits – $507,163,889 – came from three Tennessee projects.

According to the DOE announcement, 48C is an allocated tax credit funded through the “Inflation Reduction Act” that is aimed at accelerating clean energy manufacturing and recycling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at industrial facilities. The 35 projects are addressing critical needs across the clean energy economy, including grid components (e.g., transformers), electric vehicle components and chargers, solar components, clean steel, critical materials processing and recycling, and other clean energy products.

The three East Tennessee-based projects are as follows:

  • Highland Materials Inc. in Surgoinsville, a community in Hawkins County, has a patent-protected silicon purification technology to produce solar-grade polysilicon at less than the standard cost and with a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to other major manufacturers. Highland will produce 16,000 Metric Tons (MT/year) of solar silicon initially, increasing to 20,000 MT in four years – the equivalent of 11 GW of solar cells. It was granted $255,600,000 in credits.
  • NOVONIX Anode Materials LLC (NAM) in Chattanooga proposes to fully equip its recently purchased and retrofitted industrial facility to produce high-performance synthetic graphite, engineered to produce 20,000 tonnes per annum of synthetic graphite at full capacity. It will be the first commercially active large-scale synthetic graphite facility dedicated to battery anode material in North America, allowing for future cost improvements and providing a base for product qualification to scale production significantly in the United States. NAM was formed in 2017 to develop and commercialize high-performance, synthetic graphite anode material for the lithium-ion battery market focused on electric vehicles, energy storage systems, and other specialty applications. The Project will significantly expand U.S. production, reduce overwhelming reliance on China for this key battery material, and reduce the cost of battery-grade graphite. It received $103,063,889 in credits.
  •  X-energy’s TRISO-X company in Oak Ridge manufactures TRi-structural ISOtropic (TRISO) coated-particle fuel. Each particle consists of a uranium, carbon, and oxygen fuel kernel encapsulated in three layers of carbon or ceramic materials which prevent the release of radioactive fission products. DOE has demonstrated TRISO’s outstanding performance and thereby reduced the risk for industrial use. TRISO-X, using commercial scale equipment at a pilot facility, optimized fuel fabrication processes to generate kernels and TRISO particles with less waste and scrap and higher delivered throughput that provides higher product yield and quality. The company will construct a new about 215,000 square-foot facility in the Horizon Center Industrial Park to process uranium enriched to less than 20 percent uranium-235 (by weight) to manufacture nuclear fuel products, including TRISO pebbles for X-energy’s Xe-100 reactors as well as TRISO particles and compacts for other users. The company received $148,500,000 in credits.

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