Ascend Elements Gets $542 Million Funding to Boost U.S. Production of EV Battery Materials
Lithium-ion battery recycling and engineered materials business Ascend Elements has secured $542 million in fresh equity funding. The funding consists of $82 million from earlier this year and $460 million from its Series D investments.
Decarbonization Partners, Temasek, and the Qatar Investment Authority took the lead in the Series D financing (QIA).
The only placement agency for the Series D transaction was Goldman Sachs.
Ascend Elements seeks to commercialize the production of environmentally friendly, engineered battery materials that will speed the world’s transition to carbon-free transportation and the electrification of all forms of transportation.
The recently acquired capital is anticipated to fuel the development of Ascend Elements’ Apex 1 facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, which will house the region’s first sustainable cathode precursor (pCAM) and cathode active material (CAM) manufacturing facility.
Engineered materials called CAM and pCAM are created to exact microstructure specifications for electric vehicle batteries.
CEO Mike O’Kronley said, “I’d like to thank our new and existing partners for helping us deliver on our vision of producing sustainable, engineered battery materials at a commercial scale. Our sustainable lithium-ion battery materials will power EV batteries and accelerate the global transition to zero carbon emissions. Together, we are investing in North America’s critical EV battery infrastructure and bringing good manufacturing jobs back to the United States.”
The manufacturer stated that by eliminating numerous intermediate steps from the conventional cathode manufacturing process, its unique Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis method significantly reduces costs and reduces carbon emissions.
According to independent research, Ascend Elements’ recycled battery materials outperform equivalent materials made from virgin sources, and they also help reduce carbon emissions by up to 93%.
Ascend Elements started building its Apex 1 facility over the previous year after securing its first commercial-scale pCAM contract. In addition, Ascend Elements obtained two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contracts totaling $480 million as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill in October 2022.
Ascend Elements secured a multi-year contract in June 2023 for the delivery of sustainable pCAM worth $1 billion with options to increase the order to a bigger amount worth up to $5 billion.
Beginning in October 2022, work will be done on the 140-acre Apex 1 complex in southwest Kentucky. The factory will eventually manufacture enough sustainable pCAM for 750,000 electric vehicles yearly, the company claimed.
Ascend Elements revealed in September of last year that SK Ecoplant, the environmental division of the Korean conglomerate SK Inc., had made a strategic investment of $50 million.
The business raised $300 million in debt and equity funding in November. In the funding round, Fifth Wall Climate and the SK each contributed $200 million in Series C equity investments.