Ascend Elements has partnered with SK ecoplant and its e-waste recycling subsidiary, TES, to construct a $65 million lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Construction will begin in November 2023 and be completed by January 2025.
Once operational, the 100,000 sq ft recycling facility will break down nearly 56,000 EV batteries and produce 12,000 metric tons of black mass each year. Black mass is a powder containing cathode and anode materials used in EV batteries.
The black mass produced at this new facility will be supplied to Ascend Elements’ nearby Apex 1 engineered battery materials facility, which is currently under construction. Once complete in 2024, the $1 billion Apex 1 sustainable cathode precursor (pCAM) and cathode active material (CAM) manufacturing facility will produce enough pCAM for approximately 750,000 new EVs every year.
"This is just the beginning of an entirely new industry in the United States,” said Mike O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements. “For every new EV battery gigafactory that is built, we will need to build a new battery recycling facility to process manufacturing scrap and end-of-life batteries. This is a capital-intensive endeavor, so joint ventures between strategically aligned partners are an ideal way to fund new infrastructure projects."
SK ecoplant will own 64% of the joint venture, making it the majority owner. Ascend Elements will own 25%, and TES will own 11%.