Ascend Elements secures $300 million in funding to help accelerate closed-loop battery material supply chain
Ascend Elements 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. 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 totalling $480 million from the Department of Energy.
This funding, along with previous grants, will accelerate the commercialization of Ascend Elements' proprietary Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis process, which establishes a closed-loop, EV battery materials supply chain in North America. The funding follows Ascend Elements' recently disclosed plans to invest up to $1 billion to build a sustainable lithium-ion battery materials facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The 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," says 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 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," says 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."
"We are pleased to partner with Ascend Elements to develop and transform the lithium-ion battery recycling industry globally," says Ibrahim Al Eisri, director of private equity at Oman Investment Authority (OIA). "Our investment in Ascend aligns well with OIA's strategy of investing in transformative companies in sectors which complement Oman's vison 2040 priorities"
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