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Ascend Elements ships decarbonized cathode material to Freudenberg e-Power Systems

Eric Gratz stands near decarbonized EV battery cathode material
Ascend Elements Co-Founder and CTO Eric Gratz, Ph.D. with a shipment of decarbonized EV battery cathode material made from recycled lithium-ion batteries and scrap. Ascend Elements

Ascend Elements has shipped decarbonized cathode materials to Freudenberg e-Power Systems. Ascend Elements says that the shipment is notable as one of North America's first deliveries of engineered cathode materials for a specific battery application as part of a commercial vehicle validation and launch process. Cathode materials made from recycled battery metals can help EV battery manufacturers qualify for U.S. tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

"Battery manufacturers in the United States are starting to use engineered battery materials that are made in America from recycled metals," said Eric Gratz, Ph.D., CTO and co-founder of Ascend Elements. "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."

Ascend Elements uses a process known as Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis to manufacture NMC pCAM and CAM from used lithium-ion batteries and battery manufacturing scrap. The closed-loop process eliminates up to 15 intermediary steps in the traditional cathode manufacturing process and provides significant economic and carbon-reduction benefits.

Since cathode material is the single largest contributor to a lithium-ion battery cell's carbon footprint, Ascend Elements' low-carbon cathode material will impact Freudenberg e-Power Systems' batteries.

The shipment of pCAM material was engineered and manufactured at the Ascend Elements pilot facility in Westborough, Massachusetts. The materials will be sintered and finished as CAM at the Ascend Elements location in Novi, Michigan, before shipment to Freudenberg e-Power Systems at the XALT Energy plant in Midland, Michigan.

"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 U.S. battery materials industry," Gratz said.

Ascend Elements' engineers worked closely with Freudenberg e-Power Systems for over a year to engineer and manufacture the low-carbon cathode material to particularly high-performance requirements for lifetime, charge time, and safety.

"We're very proud to be one of the first to use recycled sources for our cathode material that powers buses and trucks across the country. The partnership with Ascend Elements underscores our ambitions not only to lower the carbon footprint for our customers but also in our own supply chain and materials," said Lisa McKenzie, president and general manager of battery systems at Freudenberg e-Power Systems.

While this shipment of material was made in Massachusetts and finished in Michigan, Ascend Elements continues building a $1 billion advanced manufacturing campus in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Scheduled to begin operations in early 2025, the 1-million-square-foot Apex 1 facility will eventually produce enough pCAM and CAM for 750,000 EVs per year.

Company info

133 Flanders Rd.
Westborough, MA
US, 01581


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