‘The world of tomorrow’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 17, 2023

Capchem to open Lawrence County plant by 2025

SOUTH POINT — Local officials and business leaders gathered on Thursday at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the announcement of the construction of a manufacturing facility in Lawrence County that it is said will bring 60 jobs to the region.

Capchem, headquartered in Shenzen, in southern China, plans to open a factory on County Road 1A, adjacent to PureCycle, by 2025.

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Capchem plans to develop a lithium-ion battery electrolyte manufacturing facility on this tract near Ironton to supply its major lithium-ion battery manufacturing customers in the United States.

Lithium-ion electrolyte is a key component in the lithium-ion battery, widely used in electric vehicles, energy storage systems, and consumer electronics including cell phones.

The company’s manufacturing facility will represent a capital expenditure of approximately $120 million.

“This is our ticket to the electric vehicle market, the battery market and the world of tomorrow,” Dr. Bill Dingus, president of the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation, with whom Capchem is signing a contract to purchase the 24-acre parcel of land, said.

Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation president Bill Dingus speaks at the an event at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, detailing Capchem’s plans to build a factory in Lawrence County. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Dingus said the deal was years in the making and began as a JobsOhio lead. He said representatives from the company visited the site, along with three other sites in Ohio, but chose Lawrence County.

Jiusan (Johnson) Qin, chairman of the board of Capchem, said the company, founded in 1996, serves as a leader in a changing world economy.

He noted that 30 percent of new vehicles sold in China are electric vehicles and that electric vehicle sales account for 10 percent of those in the United States and 15 percent in Europe.

“We had a lot of support from local agencies,” he said of his meetings with those in the county and region. “And we are signing the contract today.”

Dingus welcomed Jiusan and the company.

“He is truly committed to the future and industry and all the things we in the county believe in,” Dingus said.

Xin Jhou (Jane), assistant to the company chair, said the company focuses on four types of production — battery chemicals, organic fluoridated chemicals, capacitor chemicals and semiconductor chemicals.

She introduced a video detailing the company’s history and operations and noting that it employs a research and development team of 900 people and has 1,000 patent applications nationally and internationally.

Lawrence County Commissioner DeAnna Holliday was part of the group of officials who helped attract Capchem to the area.

“Our economic team is built of visionaries who have a vision for innovation and growth,” she said. “And it’s about more than just growth. It’s about building stronger communities. We welcome you and are grateful and elated. Welcome to our family.”

Jeremy Clay, associate executive director of LEDC, said they were “honored to have Capchem join our family of businesses in Lawrence County.”

“And we will provide the typical support we do for everyone,” he said, noting that LEDC will serve as a “one-stop shop” for the company’s needs, helping to establish relationship and facilitate training for employees.

“We are so thankful they considered bringing this investment into our community,” Clay said. “We are so blessed.”

Clay said the company’s specialty would give the county a lead as the world changes more to an electric vehicle market.

“This is an opportunity we can not pass up as a community,” he said.

On developing a workforce, Clay pointed to community partners in the area, including Ohio University Southern and Collins Career Technical Center.

James Woda, with Collins Career Technical Center, speaks at the an event at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, detailing Capchem’s plans to build a factory in Lawrence County. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Speaking for OUS was Robert Pleasant, director of student services.

“We commit to provide whatever support we can,” he said “We are a small community with a big heart. And we are committed to services so students and businesses can be successful.”

James Woda, communications director for CCTC, said the company’s mission echoes the school’s, when he heard the talk about the changing economy and transition to green energy.

“It reminds me of Collins’ mission to prepare students and adults for an ever-changing workplace,” he said.

Taylor Stepp, director of projects, for Ohio Southeast Economic Development, said Ohio has seen some “big wins” lately, noting the decision by Intel to construct a microchip manufacturing facility in the state, as well as an announcement by Honda for operation in Fayette County.

Stepp said that Capchem’s stated goal of green energy “dovetails perfectly” with PureCycle’s.

John Holbrook, business manager for the Tri-State Building and Construction Trades Council, said that the region was filled with “skilled workers” who would “help build and maintain the facility.”

“We will help every step of the way,” Holbrook said. “There are workers locally and from the community to help build it. We’re all excited.”

Dingus spoke of the company’s reach. While he said the company does not disclose those who use its products, he said they are quite common.

“I guarantee that if you take an electric vehicle for a demo, it will be running on Capchem electrolytes,” Dingus said.