Ascend Elements Invests Up to $1 Billion in Electric Vehicle Battery Materials Manufacturing Facility in Southwest Kentucky

Published on: 03 August 2022
by KnowESG
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Ascend Elements has announced plans to invest $310 million in Phase 1 and up to $1 billion over multiple stages to construct a sustainable lithium-ion battery materials facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, with groundbreaking anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The first-of-its-kind manufacturing facility, dubbed "Apex 1", will house the company's innovative Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis process technology, which will take in black mass from recycled electric vehicle batteries and produce enough lithium-ion battery precursor and sustainable cathode active material to equip up to 250,000 electric vehicles per year. 

Compared to conventional cathode manufacturing, this closed-loop production technique generates less waste and carbon emissions. Apex 1 will have chemical recycling capabilities and an on-site wastewater treatment facility.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said: 

"I am incredibly proud of how we in Kentucky have taken the initiative to ensure our state will be a leader in the automotive industry of the future. The addition of Ascend Elements to Hopkinsville is a tremendous step toward building that foundation even further. This is a company focused on growing in a sustainable way and one that will benefit so many other businesses in our state and throughout North America. I want to welcome Ascend Elements to Kentucky and thank its leaders for their commitment to our talented workforce.”

The 500,000-square-foot Apex 1 building, situated on more than 140 acres in Commerce Industrial Park II in Hopkinsville, will begin operations in late 2023. In the future growth phases, the facility might employ up to 400 individuals in a wide range of positions, including engineers, chemists, warehouse workers, and factory operators. During construction and the first decade of operation, the project is anticipated to have a potential economic impact of $4.4 billion on Kentucky.

 Michael O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements, said: 

"I’d like to thank Gov. Beshear and his staff for their support, as well as everyone in Christian County and the City of Hopkinsville. Clean energy and climate technology industries are bringing good jobs to communities across the country, and we couldn’t be happier with our decision to locate Apex 1 in southwest Kentucky. We’re building something in Kentucky that doesn’t exist anywhere in the United States – a domestic source of sustainable lithium-ion cathode material for EV batteries.”

O'Kronley stated that the business considered more than fifty locations for this project, but only the Hopkinsville location matched all requirements. The location provides convenient access to transit, renewable energy, and a varied workforce. 

Moreover, the Ascend Elements Base 1 battery recycling facility in Covington, Georgia is a significant supply of recovered battery feedstock (black matter) for the Apex 1 operation.

We’re in the middle of a global energy transformation and we must produce lithium-ion battery material in the United States. Our future energy independence and national security depend on it,” O’Kronley said. “This new facility in Hopkinsville will produce sustainable, active battery material for approximately 250,000 EVs per year. That will go a long way toward making electric vehicle batteries cleaner.”

Source: Ascend Elements

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