Massachusetts-based Ascend Elements has broken ground on its Hopkinsville, Kentucky facility, which it says will be the largest electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling and engineering materials manufacturing facility in the United States.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by several local government officials, including Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and representatives of EV battery manufacturing companies. Hopkinsville is located in southwestern Kentucky, twelve miles (12 miles) from the Tennessee border.
According to Ascend, the plant is being built “to meet the growing demand in North America for lithium-ion battery materials, specifically engineered precursors (pCAM) and battery-compatible cathode active materials (CAM).” That’s it. Once complete, Ascend says the company’s Apex 1-inch facility in Kentucky will produce enough pCAM and CAM to equip 250,000 EVs annually.
The Ascend website describes the material as consisting of nickel sulfate, lithium carbonate, cobalt sulfate, and manganese sulfate.
The company is one of two battery recycling companies funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), along with an Ohio facility operated by North Carolina-based Cirba Solutions.
Ascend Elements CEO Michael O’Kronley said: “We are in the midst of a global energy transition, and it is critical that we produce lithium-ion battery materials in the United States. Our future energy independence and national security depend on it.”
Gov. Beshear: “Initial announcement of Ascend Elements made history as the largest development project in Christian County [Kentucky], but with recent announcements, the investment has grown to nearly $1 billion, creating 400 full-time jobs and becoming the single largest investment in Western Kentucky. ”
Beshear continues. We would like to thank the company leadership for this commitment to the Commonwealth and we can’t wait to see Ascend Elements and the Hopkinsville community grow together. ”
Ascend says it plans to invest nearly $1 billion in its 140-acre Apex 1 campus and 500,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. His recent DOE grants total him $480 million, according to the company.
The company describes its Hydro-to-Cathode Direct Precursor Synthesis process technology as “the most efficient and economically compelling way to bring recycled battery materials back into the battery supply chain.” The closed-loop system “produces minimal waste and carbon emissions compared to traditional cathode manufacturing,” he said.