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February 20, 2024

Westborough battery firm raises $162M to boost construction of Kentucky factory

A large manufacturing facility under construction Image | Courtesy of Ascend Elements Ascend Elements’ Apex 1 facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Ascend Elements, a Westborough-based company seeking to create a more sustainable supply chain for the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries, has announced that it has raised $162 million in new equity investments, bringing the company’s 12-month funding total to $704 million. 

The company plans on utilizing these funds to advance construction of a manufacturing facility in Kentucky, which will produce cathode active materials that will be utilized to construct up to 750,000 electric vehicles per year when it opens in 2025, according to a release issued by Ascend on Tuesday. 

Cathode active materials are needed to make electric vehicle batteries. Most of the world’s current supply of these materials are made in China and derived from mines, according to Ascend, but the company’s technology allows it to make sustainable cathode active materials from waste derived from recycled lithium-ion batteries.

“I’d like to thank our new and existing partners for investing in North America’s critical EV battery infrastructure,” Mike O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements, said in the release. “This diverse group of leading climate investors and industry partners underscores the confidence that the market has placed in our business. By recycling lithium-ion batteries and making new, engineered battery materials with lower carbon emissions, Ascend Elements is accelerating the global transition to zero carbon emissions.”

Contributors to Ascend’s latest round of funding include Just Climate, a London-based investment business focused on sustainability, Clearvision Ventures, a California-based investment firm focused on software development and sustainable infrastructure companies, and IRONGREY, a South Korean investment firm focused on disruptive businesses.

“We are backing a technology that transforms spent lithium-ion batteries into critical materials used in the creation of new batteries. With its first pCAM facility in construction in the United States, Ascend Elements has the potential to unlock the supply of critical battery materials to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles,” Aruna Ramsamy, managing director at Just Climate, said in the release.

Ascend, which is set to move its headquarters from Westborough to Devens in September, is teaming up with South Korean firm SK ecoplant to construct the facility in Kentucky. 

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