Ascend Elements, a U.S.-based engineered materials and lithium-ion battery recycling company, today announced it has secured $300 million in equity and debt financing, including $200 million in Series C equity investments from an international group of strategic and financial investors.
The funding round was led by Fifth Wall Climate and joined by SK ecoplant, the environmental unit of South Korean conglomerate SK Group. Other new investors include Oman Investment Authority, Lithium Americas Corporation, GLy Capital Management‘s New Mobility Fund, Mirae Asset Capital & LS and Shinhan GIB. Many investors from previous funding rounds also participated in the latest round, including Hitachi Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, TDK Ventures, Orbia Ventures, At One Ventures, TRUMPF Venture, and Doral Energy-Tech Ventures. This funding is in addition to two recently awarded grants totaling $480 million from the Department of Energy.
This funding, along with the grants, will accelerate commercialization of Ascend Elements’ innovative and proprietary Hydro-to-Cathode™ direct precursor synthesis process, which establishes a closed-loop, EV battery materials supply chain in North America. The announcement follows Ascend Elements’ recently disclosed plans to invest up to $1 billion to build a sustainable lithium-ion battery materials facility in Hopkinsville, Ky. The first-of-its-kind manufacturing facility, known as “Apex 1”, will produce enough lithium-ion battery pCAM and sustainable CAM to equip up to 250,000 electric vehicles per year.
“Our investment partners understand the urgent need to produce sustainable, lithium-ion battery materials,” said Ascend Elements CEO Mike O’Kronley. “It’s not enough to simply recycle lithium-ion batteries and recover metals for the global commodity markets. Our patented, closed-loop process goes beyond simple battery recycling. Instead, we produce sustainable, high-performance cathode active materials that can go directly back into new EV batteries.”
Ascend Elements is already generating revenue and processing end-of-life batteries and manufacturing scrap at its “Base 1” facility in Georgia, which will have 30,000 metric tons of EV battery recycling capacity by the end of 2022 and will ultimately feed Apex 1 in Kentucky. The company expects to recycle more than 150,000 metric tons of lithium-ion batteries per year globally by 2026, efficiently and sustainably transforming them into high-performance, customized, EV battery cathode active material precursor (pCAM) and cathode active materials (CAM) that meet or exceed the performance requirements of top-tier battery manufacturers.
“Securing the recyclability of critical, valuable metals in batteries is an essential avenue to achieve energy independence from fossil fuels,” said Peter Gajdoš, Fifth Wall Partner and Co-Lead of the Climate Investment team. “We’re proud to support Ascend Elements as they create sustainable batteries in both automotive and stationary storage.”
SK ecoplant CEO Park Kyung-il said, “This investment continues our strategic partnership with Ascend Elements and lays the foundation for SK ecoplant as the 1st shareholder to dominate the global battery recycling industry.”
Ibrahim Al Eisri, Director – Private Equity, at Oman Investment Authority (OIA) said, “We are pleased to partner with Ascend Elements to develop and transform the lithium-ion battery recycling industry globally. Our investment in Ascend aligns well with OIA’s strategy of investing in transformative companies in sectors which complement Oman’s Vison 2040 priorities”