SK ecoplant Invests $50 Million in Ascend Elements

Ascend Elements, a lithium-ion battery recycling and engineered materials company, announced a strategic investment of $50 million from SK ecoplant, the environmental unit of Korean conglomerate SK Inc.

The investment will accelerate the commercialization of the company’s ‘Hydro-to-Cathode’ direct precursor synthesis process technology, which transforms recycled lithium-ion batteries and manufacturing scrap into high-performance, customized EV battery cathode precursor and cathode active materials.

“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.

“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 recently announced plans to invest up to $1 billion over several phases to build a sustainable lithium-ion battery materials facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The facility known as ‘Apex 1’ is expected to 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, Georgia. When fully operational in Q4 2022, the facility known as ‘Base 1’ will recycle more than 30,000 metric tons of used batteries and manufacture scrap per year.

Last Month, Nexeon, a battery materials developer and manufacturer, completed the second close of its fundraising resulting in a total investment of $170 million. Additionally, a further $50 million of commercial investments are being made in Nexeon’s technologies because of the investment round. The capital raised will provide Nexeon with further resources to accelerate the expansion of its manufacturing of silicon-based anode materials for use in rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries.

According to Mercom’s 1H and Q2 2022 Funding and M&A Report for Storage, Grid & Efficiency, In 1H 2022, $15.8 billion was raised in corporate funding from 57 deals, 64% higher compared to $9.6 billion raised in 43 deals in 1H 2021.