Ascend Elements Secures $542M for US Battery Plant
Ascend Elements, a U.S.-based manufacturer specialising in sustainable, engineered battery materials for electric vehicles, made an announcement that it has successfully secured $542 million in fresh equity investments.
This substantial funding includes an impressive $460 million in Series D investments, in addition to $82 million from earlier investments earlier this year.
Leading this Series D round were renowned investors, including Decarbonisation Partners, Temasek, a Singapore-based investment firm, and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
Ascend Elements also welcomed contributions from other prominent investors such as Tenaska, Alliance Resource Partners, PULSE – CMA CGM Energy Fund, BHP Ventures, Fifth Wall, Hitachi Ventures, Mirae Asset, At One Ventures, Agave Partners, Alumni Ventures, and several other esteemed global entities.
This $542 million equity financing milestone stands as one of the largest private placements in the cleantech sector within the United States for the year 2023. Moreover, it ranks among the top 10 equity private placements of the year across various industries in the United States.
CEO Mike O’Kronley of Ascend Elements expressed his gratitude towards both new and existing partners, acknowledging their pivotal role in realising the company's vision of producing sustainable lithium-ion battery materials at a commercial scale.
These materials will significantly power electric vehicle batteries, thereby expediting the global shift towards zero carbon emissions. O’Kronley emphasised the joint commitment to invest in vital electric vehicle battery infrastructure of North America, while simultaneously revitalising the manufacturing job market in the United States.
Dr. Meghan Sharp, Global Head of Decarbonisation Partners, expressed enthusiasm about their investment in Ascend Elements, hailing the company as a leader in the rapidly growing sustainable battery materials domain, which plays a crucial role in advancing transportation electrification. She noted the partnership with Temasek and the collective aim to support Ascend Elements in its continued expansion and technological innovation.
The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) also expressed satisfaction with investing in Ascend Elements. Mohammed Al-Sowaidi, Chief Investment Officer, Americas at QIA, affirmed that this investment is consistent with QIA's overarching strategy to support forward-thinking companies that are shaping the future of the global economy. The investment holds particular significance in their North American portfolio.
The infusion of funds will be pivotal in advancing the construction of Ascend Elements’ groundbreaking Apex 1 facility located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
This facility is set to become North America's inaugural sustainable cathode precursor (pCAM) and cathode active material (CAM) manufacturing plant.
CAM and pCAM are meticulously engineered materials crafted to precise microstructure specifications for use in electric vehicle batteries.
While most of the world's pCAM and CAM materials are produced in China from primary (mined) metals, Ascend Elements, headquartered in the U.S., is pioneering an exceptionally efficient method to create sustainable pCAM and CAM from black mass, the traditional output of lithium-ion battery recycling centres.
Their patented Hydro-to-Cathode® direct precursor synthesis process streamlines the conventional cathode manufacturing process, offering substantial economic benefits and a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions. Multiple peer-reviewed studies have validated Ascend Elements’ recycled battery materials, demonstrating their performance equivalence to materials derived from virgin sources while reducing carbon emissions by an impressive 93%.
Over the past year, Ascend Elements has celebrated several major achievements, including the signing of its inaugural commercial scale pCAM contract, the commencement of construction on its expansive Apex 1 facility, and the acquisition of two substantial grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
In June 2023, Ascend Elements inked a monumental $1 billion contract to supply sustainable pCAM materials starting in Q4 2024, with the option to expand the multi-year contract to a total value of up to $5 billion.
Construction on the remarkable Apex 1 facility began in October 2022, situated on a sprawling 140-acre site in southwest Kentucky. Once fully operational, this sprawling 1-million-square-foot facility will have the capacity to produce sustainable pCAM materials for 750,000 electric vehicles annually. Ascend Elements also secured two grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, totalling $480 million, as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) enacted in October 2022.
Mike O’Kronley expressed his immense pride in the accomplishments of the Ascend Elements team over the past year and looks forward to building on their impressive momentum. He highlighted the crucial role of their new and existing partners in the mission to develop a sustainable domestic EV supply chain, an indispensable component of the global energy transition.
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Source: Ascend Elements