Ascend Elements to Engineer Sustainable Cathode Active Material (CAM) for Freudenberg e-Power Systems

Sustainable cathode material made from recycled Li-ion batteries offers exceptional cycle life and safety for heavy duty applications

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., (September 12, 2023) — Heavy-duty electric trucks, buses, and maritime vessels in North America and Europe may soon be powered by recycled battery materials. Ascend Elements, a U.S.-based manufacturer of sustainable, engineered battery materials, today announced a contract to engineer sustainable cathode active material (CAM) for Freudenberg e-Power Systems. At their XALT Energy battery plant in Midland, Mich., Freudenberg manufactures battery cell, pack, and system solutions for applications with particularly high performance requirements for lifetime, charge time, and safety. These solutions are suitable for marine, fuel cell hybrid, heavy duty commercial transportation, and other specialty electrification applications.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ascend Elements will design a custom-engineered NMC cathode material to meet Freudenberg’s precise specifications. The material will be engineered at the Ascend Elements Research & Development Center in Westborough, Mass.

“Freudenberg e-Power Systems leads the way in sustainable battery solutions for demanding heavy-duty applications. Incorporating Ascend Elements’ recycled cathode material into our high-performance cell design reduces environmental impact while ensuring the highest product quality and exceptional lifetime,” explained Max Kley, CEO of Freudenberg e-Power Systems. “In addition, Ascend Elements’ domestic manufacturing footprint further enhances the stability of our supply chain.”

Max Kley, CEO of Freudenberg e-Power Systems, and Mike O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements, after signing the engineered materials contract in Detroit, Mich.

Several peer-reviewed studies have shown Ascend Elements’ recycled battery materials perform as well as similar materials made from virgin (or mined) sources while reducing carbon emissions by up to 93%.

“This contract is further evidence that recycled battery metals can perform as well as virgin metals. Metals are essentially the same whether they come from a mine or a used lithium-ion battery. It’s all how you engineer the cathode material,” said CEO Mike O’Kronley of Ascend Elements. “To win this contract, Freudenberg tested our customized cathode product extensively and found it to have truly exceptional cycle-life results while achieving best-in-class safety.”

Using an innovative battery recycling process and a patented cathode engineering technology, Ascend Elements is one of North America’s first commercial-scale manufacturers of sustainable CAM and cathode precursor (pCAM). Ascend Elements recently announced a sale of pCAM valued at up to $5 billion, signaling a shift in global battery materials supply chains.

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

Based in Westborough, Mass., Ascend Elements is the leading provider of sustainable, closed-loop battery material solutions. From EV battery recycling to commercial-scale production of lithium-ion battery precursor (pCAM) and cathode active materials (CAM), Ascend Elements is revolutionizing the production of sustainable lithium-ion battery materials. Its Hydro-to-Cathode® direct precursor synthesis technology produces new CAM from spent lithium-ion cells more efficiently than traditional methods, resulting in improved economics and lowered GHG emissions. With fewer batteries going to landfill and a cleaner manufacturing process, Ascend Elements is taking the lithium-ion battery industry to a higher level of sustainability.

Freudenberg e-Power Systems is a subsidiary of Freudenberg Group and is one of the world’s leading suppliers of emission-neutral energy systems for heavy-duty applications. With its experience and expertise in battery and fuel cell technology, the company offers tailor-made solutions for sustainable and economical e-mobility.


Thomas Frey, APR
Ascend Elements | [email protected]

Julia Bachmeier
Freudenberg e-Power Systems | [email protected]