The company will make the sustainable material from recycled battery materials at its manufacturing facility in southwest Kentucky.
WESTBOROUGH, Mass.— Ascend Elements reported that it recently signed a multi-year contract to supply approximately $1 billion worth of sustainable high-nickel, NMC cathode precursor material (pCAM) for use in a major U.S. company’s battery manufacturing process, beginning in the fourth quarter 2024.
Ascend Elements uses an innovative battery recycling process and a patented cathode engineering technology to supply sustainable, engineered battery materials—specifically high-nickel, NMC pCAM—to North America’s fast-growing lithium-ion battery industry. Under the terms of the agreement, the customer has the option to expand the contract to a larger quantity with a value of up to $5 billion, Ascend Elements said in a release.
The deal signals a shift in worldwide battery material supply chains, as Ascend Elements builds one of North America’s first commercial-scale NMC pCAM manufacturing facilities in southwest Kentucky.
“Nearly 100 percent of the world’s pCAM is produced in Asia,” said Mike O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements, in the release. “There is no reason we can’t manufacture critical battery materials like this in the United States. In fact, we need to manufacture our own battery materials to secure the supply chain in North America, reduce carbon emissions, and ensure our energy independence.”
The Ascend Elements facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky will reportedly be a one-of-a-kind, sustainable cathode manufacturing facility with capacity to produce NMC pCAM for up to 750,000 electric vehicles per year. In October 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded two matching grants totaling $480 million to Ascend Elements to help accelerate construction of the southwest Kentucky facility. Overall, the company said it plans to invest more than $1 billion in the facility.
Ascend Elements uses a patented process known as Hydro-to-Cathode® direct precursor synthesis to manufacture NMC pCAM and cathode active material (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 is said to provide significant economic and carbon-reduction benefits.
Several peer-reviewed studies are reported to have shown Ascend Elements’ recycled battery materials perform as well as similar materials made from virgin (or mined) sources while reducing carbon emissions associated with mining.