Ascend Elements to invest up to $1B in Southwest Kentucky EV battery materials manufacturing facility; Hydro-to-Cathode
Ascend Elements plans to invest $310 million in Phase 1—and up to $1 billion over several possible phases—to build a sustainable lithium-ion battery materials facility in Hopkinsville, Ky., with groundbreaking expected in Q4 2022. The manufacturing facility, known as “Apex 1”, will be home to the company’s Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis process technology—taking in black mass from recycled electric vehicle batteries and producing enough lithium-ion battery precursor and sustainable cathode active material to equip up to 250,000 electric vehicles per year.
This closed-loop manufacturing system generates minimal waste and carbon emissions compared to traditional cathode manufacturing, the company says. Apex 1 will feature onsite chemical recycling capabilities and a wastewater treatment plant.
Ascend Elements’ Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis process leaches out impurities, keeping the valuable metals in solution and eliminating multiple steps in the recycling flow.
We’re in the middle of a global energy transformation and it’s critical that we produce lithium-ion battery material in the United States. Our future energy independence and national security depend on it. 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.—Michael O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements
Artist’s rendering of Ascend Elements’ new Apex 1 facility to be located in Hopkinsville, Ky. (Ascend Elements)
Located on more than 140 acres in the Commerce Industrial Park II in Hopkinsville, the 500,000-square-foot Apex 1 facility will begin operations in late 2023. With the potential expansion phases, the facility would employ up to 400 people in a variety of roles—from engineers and chemists to warehouse associates and manufacturing operators. The project is expected potentially to generate $4.4 billion in economic impact to Kentucky over the construction period and first 10 years of operation.