Ascend Elements raises additional $162 million to build sustainable lithium-ion battery materials in United States

In a follow up to one of last year’s largest cleantech private equity placements, Ascend Elements has announced it has raised $162 million in new equity investments. Major investors include Just Climate, Clearvision Ventures, and IRONGREY. The new equity financing brings the company’s 12-month funding total to $704 million, including the $542 million funding round led by Decarbonization Partners, Temasek and Qatar Investment Authority in September 2023.

“I’d like to thank our new and existing partners for investing in North America’s critical EV battery infrastructure,” said CEO Mike O’Kronley of Ascend Elements. “This diverse group of leading climate investors and industry partners underscores the confidence that the market has placed in our business. By recycling lithiumion batteries and making new, engineered battery materials with lower carbon emissions, Ascend Elements is accelerating the global transition to zero carbon emissions.”

“We are backing a technology that transforms spent lithiumion batteries into critical materials used in the creation of new batteries. With its first pCAM facility in construction in the United States, Ascend Elements has the potential to unlock the supply of critical battery materials to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles,” said Aruna Ramsamy, a Managing Director at Just Climate. “Ascend Elements’ Hydro-to-Cathode® technology provides a sustainable option for production of critical battery materials, championing circularity in an industry that is poised to scale significantly. We’re looking forward to supporting Ascend Elements in its growth journey.”

The new funding will advance construction of Ascend Elements’ Apex 1 facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, which will be North America’s first sustainable cathode precursor (pCAM) manufacturing facility open in early 2025. When complete, the 1-million-square-foot facility will produce sustainable pCAM and CAM (cathode active materials) for up to 750,000 electric vehicles per year. The project is supported in part by U.S. Department of Energy and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

pCAM and CAM are engineered materials made to precise microstructure specifications for use in electric vehicle batteries. While most of the world’s pCAM and CAM are made in China from primary (mined) metals, U.S.-based Ascend Elements is commercializing an ultra-efficient method to make sustainable pCAM and CAM from black mass, the traditional output of lithiumion battery recycling facilities. The patented Hydro-to-Cathode® direct precursor synthesis process eliminates several intermediary steps in the traditional cathode manufacturing process and provides significant economic and carbon-reduction benefits.

Several peer-reviewed studies have shown Ascend Elements’ recycled battery materials perform as well as similar materials made from primary (mined) sources.