SK ecoplant Invests $50 Million in Ascend Elements

SK Inc. subsidiary makes strategic investment in U.S.-based EV battery recycling and engineered materials company

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., (September 1, 2022) Ascend Elements, a U.S.-based lithium-ion battery recycling and engineered materials company, today announced a strategic investment of USD $50 million from SK ecoplant, the environmental unit of Korean conglomerate SK Inc. The investment demonstrates SK ecoplant’s commitment to the North American EV battery market and strengthens the relationship between the two organizations.

“This is a milestone investment for our company,” said 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.”

Ascend Elements CEO Mike O’Kronley (left) and SK ecoplant CEO Park Kyung-il (right) meet during a signing ceremony on August 30, 2022.

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,” said SK ecoplant CEO Park Kyung-il.

Ascend Elements recently announced plans to invest up to $1 billion over several phases to build a sustainable lithium-ion battery materials facility in Hopkinsville, Ky. The first-of-its-kind 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, Ga. When fully operational in Q4 2022, the facility known as “Base 1” will recycle more than 30,000 metric tons of used batteries and manufacturing scrap per year, making it North America’s largest lithium-ion battery recycling facility.

Based in Westborough, Mass., Ascend Elements is revolutionizing the production of lithium-ion battery materials by establishing a clean and sustainable supply chain using recycled feedstock. Its Hydro-to-Cathode™ direct precursor synthesis technology produces new cathode active materials from spent lithium-ion cells more efficiently than traditional methods, resulting in reduced cost, improved performance, 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 with a sustainable, closed-loop battery economy.

Thomas Frey, APR
Ascend Elements | [email protected] | +1.734.658.0143

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