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April 9, 2024

Ascend establishes European joint venture, to build EV facilities in Poland and Germany

A rendering of an industrial campus Image | Courtesy of AE Elemental A rendering of AE Elemental's planned EV battery recycling facility in Zawiercie, Poland.

Ascend Elements of Westborough and Elemental Strategic Metals, a firm based in Poland, are teaming up to launch AE Elemental, a joint venture looking to build two European facilities to extract materials from old electric vehicle batteries to be used to construct new batteries.

The joint venture will own and operate two planned battery recycling plants, with one in Poland and the other in Germany, according to a joint press release issued Tuesday. Both facilities will disassemble, discharge, and shred EV batteries to produce black mass, a material containing high levels of lithium and other materials to be used to produce new batteries.

“The AE Elemental JV is a significant milestone for Ascend Elements, representing our first commercial-scale battery recycling facility in Europe. We’re pleased to be working closely with Elemental Strategic Metals,” Mike O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements, said in the press release. “Expanding into Europe will allow us to better service our customers locally and help the industry comply with new EU rules requiring recycled material in new batteries. This is a perfect time to expand our operations.”

The Polish facility, located in the southern town of Zawiercie, will have the capacity to recycle up to 12,000 metric tons of batteries per year, which equals about 28,000 EV batteries. Construction is set to begin in the fall, with the facility set to be operational in 2026.

The German facility will be located in the central part of the country and will be capable of recycling up to 25,000 metric tons of batteries per year, equal to about 58,000 EV batteries. A timeline for the opening of the German facility was not provided.

In September, Ascend Elements announced a partnership with a South Korean firm to lead to the construction of a battery recycling facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The company is planning on moving its headquarters from Westborough to Devens, which is expected to be completed in September.

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