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SK ecoplant invests $50 million in Ascend Elements

Two people shake hands on a stage
Ascend Elements CEO Mike O'Kronley (left) and SK ecoplant CEO Park Kyung-il (right) meet during a signing ceremony for the $50 million investment.

Ascend Elements has received a $50 million investment from SK ecoplant. The investment demonstrates SK ecoplant's commitment to the North American EV battery market and strengthens the relationship between the two organizations. Previously, SK Battery America (SKBA) selected Ascend Elements to recycle lithium-ion battery manufacturing scrap from its Commerce, G.A. facility, which produces EV batteries for the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Volkswagen ID.4.

"This is a milestone investment for our company," says Ascend Elements CEO Mike O'Kronley. "SK ecoplant has been building and investing in sustainable companies and technologies, and the company's leadership understands the game-changing potential of our direct precursor synthesis technology. They also understand the urgent need to produce sustainable, lithium-ion battery materials in the United States."

SK ecoplant's investment will help accelerate the commercialization of Ascend Elements' innovative Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis process technology, which quickly and efficiently transforms recycled lithium-ion batteries and manufacturing scrap into high-performance, customized EV battery cathode precursor and cathode active materials that meet or exceed performance standards set by leading battery manufacturers.

"This investment continues our strategic partnership with Ascend Elements and lays the foundation for SK ecoplant to dominate the global battery recycling industry," says SK ecoplant CEO Park Kyung-il.

Ascend Elements will invest up to $1 billion over several phases to build a sustainable lithium-ion battery materials facility in Hopkinsville, K.Y. The manufacturing facility, known as "Apex 1", will produce enough lithium-ion battery precursor and sustainable cathode active material to equip up to 250,000 electric vehicles per year. The company is also opening a battery recycling facility in Covington, G.A. When fully operational in Q4 of 2022, the facility known as "Base 1" will recycle more than 30,000 metric tons of used batteries and manufacturing scrap per year.

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