Sila’s Moses Lake plant opening on track

For the Basin Business Journal | April 16, 2024 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — According to Sila Nanotechnologies Vice President Chris Dougher, the opening of Sila’s Moses Lake manufacturing plant, which will eventually mass produce the company’s Titan Silicon anode, has been going well and is on track

“The first really big milestone, or public milestone, was the groundbreaking in November,” Dougher said. “We had the (Department of Energy) here, as well as a handful of customers with Mercedes and others that came on-site and celebrated the early work that we’re doing out back getting our foundations in.”

Sila purchased the Moses Lake site, 160 acres and a 600,000 square foot building located on Road N Northeast, about a year and a half ago, Dougher said.

“We’ve continued to do two things. One is we’ve continued the construction work,” he said. “We’re doing everything from the foundation work to electrical to some room builds internally. So that’s progressed really well. Then the second thing we’ve done is we’ve started to build out our operating staff, so the individuals that will run the plant once we get to the start of production.

Dougher said Sila has also begun community initiatives since the groundbreaking. 

“We just recently announced a partnership with the local schools here in Moses Lake, (Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center) and Big Bend Community College, and we awarded $1 million to each program to help build out the curriculum, facilities and staffing to support a talent pipeline that’ll help kind of continually feed that hiring effort both for ourselves and for our local community,” he said.

The community and existing market are part of why Sila chose Moses Lake, Dougher said. 

“There’s been a lot of growth in the Moses Lake area, which is exciting,” Dougher said. “That’s why we really double down on investing in the community and the educational institutions here…We feel like Moses Lake is a really strong community for both agriculture and industrial, so we felt very lucky to be here and we want to give back and be an active part of that community.”

While a handful of employees will be coming from Sila’s headquarters in Alameda, California, and some positions may have to be sourced outside of the local community, Dougher said most of the employees hired so far have been local.

“Our first phase of the project will need about 100 people to be ready to start that up in 2025, and we feel very confident that we’ll be able to access that,” he said. “Most of it, almost all that today has been locally sourced, so we’ve hired individuals from Grant County.”

The staff running the facility include local individuals as well. 

“We’ve hired some industry veterans to run the project, including individuals who worked at REC (Silicon) and other local industrial companies who have done this before,” Dougher said, “so we’re very excited to have that type of skill and talent on board, and we’re building that project management team internally, while also working with a large (engineering, procurement and construction contract) to help supplement.”

Dougher elaborated on the plant opening’s schedule.

“A high-level way of thinking about it is, first off, we are on track with our project schedule, which is really exciting. We’ve maintained that since we set it last year,” Dougher said. “2024 is really about getting the equipment installed and mechanically complete. We’re building a lot of these things off-site and bringing them on-site and bolting them down, connecting them up.”

Sila received $100 million in funding through the federal Inflation Reduction Act and the Department of Energy specifically to help in opening the facility, Dougher said. 

“We’ve onboarded our general contractors, so we’re working with two Washington (general contractors),” he said. “They’ve deployed teams on-site and are working on track. We’re doing cutting today in the concrete, we’re building our electrical buildings, we have all of the underground piping going in outside, that’s gone really well, and then we’ll start pouring concrete in the next month or two.”

According to a November statement from Sila, the plant will house “automotive-scale” production lines.

“The building that we bought, will house a lot of a lot of the equipment and many of the office areas, control rooms, quality labs, but then some of the process equipment that we’re building and the facilities to support it are very, very large and it will actually sit outside,” Dougher said. “So we’re grading the land, pouring the foundations that equipment can sit on…We started that kind of compaction and grading in November, and then we started some of the other construction activities inside the building in the last two months.”

The next phase of opening the plant comes next year.

“2025 is when you really turn them on, turn all these large tools on, make our material, kind of dial them in and go through a commissioning process,” Dougher said. “Our first kind of shipments or in-spec material we’ll be making towards the middle of the year and then we’ll have an official kind of automotive start of the production in the last quarter of the year.”

Dougher said there have not been any specific setbacks, aside from designing brand-new production equipment.

“This is first-of-its-kind technology that nobody’s ever really built before. That brings its own challenges in and of itself, but it’s actually gone really, really well,” Dougher said. “We’ve dedicated a lot of resources to it. We have over 100 engineers now that are working on this design and they’ve hit their design milestones. We also prove it out on a smaller scale at Alameda, run smaller versions of these tools to prove that they make the material at a very high quality and yield rate. Then we work with our customers to test in their batteries and that’s all gone really, really well, so we’re excited about that.”

For more information about Sila Nanotechnologies and its Titan Silicon anode, visit

Gabriel Davis may be reached at 

    Aerial photo of Sila Nanotechnologies’ Moses Lake facility, which is currently being equipped to eventually begin production of the company’s Titan Silicon anode.