Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Ascend Elements Delivers First Recycled Cathode Material to Freudenberg e-Power Systems

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Ascend Elements, a US company specializing in battery materials production, has delivered its first recycled cathode material to Freudenberg e-Power Systems’ US plant in Midland, Michigan. The material is currently undergoing validation for use in commercial vehicle batteries.

The delivered precursor materials (pCAM) and cathode active materials (CAM) were obtained using Ascend Element’s “hydro-to-cathode” process. This process aims to reduce the carbon footprint of new cathode materials for electric vehicle batteries by up to 90% by 2030. An independent life cycle analysis showed a current reduction of up to 49%.

See also: Ascend Elements and Call2Recycle Announce Partnership for Electric Vehicle Battery Recycling

Cathode material is the largest contributor to a lithium-ion battery cell’s carbon footprint, making Ascend Elements’ low-carbon cathode material crucial for reducing Freudenberg e-Power Systems’ batteries’ carbon footprint.

Ascend Elements’ process allows for the direct processing of black mass from recycled electric vehicle batteries into new cathode materials, eliminating the need for intermediate steps. This innovation could save up to 15 process steps.

The pCAM was obtained at Ascend Elements’ pilot plant in Westborough, Massachusetts, and processed into CAM at a site in Novi, Michigan, before delivery to Freudenberg e-Power Systems’ plant in Midland, Michigan. Freudenberg e-Power Systems acquired the plant as part of the takeover of Xalt Energy, which manufactures cells, packs, and system solutions for heavy commercial vehicles and ships.

See also: Ascend Elements Launches Largest Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Facility in North America, Investing $50 Million in Georgia

While Ascend Elements currently processes the material in Massachusetts and Michigan, future production is planned for Kentucky. The “Apex 1” plant, expected to start operations in early 2025 at a cost of around one billion dollars, will produce enough pCAM and CAM for 750,000 electric vehicles per year.

“This is a relatively small shipment in relation to the intended full-scale commercial program, but it’s an important milestone for Ascend Elements and the US battery materials industry,” said Eric Gratz, CTO, and Co-founder of Ascend Elements.

The validation and potential use of recycled material in new batteries are not only environmentally beneficial but also politically significant. Cathode materials made from recycled battery metals can help electric vehicle battery manufacturers qualify for US tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

See also: Ascend Elements to Supply Koura with Recycled Lithium Carbonate for Lithium-Ion Battery Materials

“Battery manufacturers in the United States are starting to use engineered battery materials that are made in America from recycled metals,” said Gratz. “Engineered cathode material is normally made in Asia using material from mined sources. Now we’re making it domestically from recycled EV batteries and production scrap while generating just half the carbon footprint.”

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