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Ascend Elements to engineer sustainable cathode active material (CAM) for Freudenberg e-Power Systems

Ascend Elements, a US-based manufacturer of sustainable, engineered battery materials, announced a contract to engineer sustainable cathode active material (CAM) for Freudenberg e-Power Systems.

At its XALT Energy battery plant in Midland, Mich., Freudenberg manufactures battery cell, pack, and system solutions for applications with particularly high performance requirements for lifetime, charge time, and safety. These solutions are suitable for marine, fuel cell hybrid, heavy duty commercial transportation, and other specialty electrification applications.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ascend Elements will design a custom-engineered NMC cathode material to meet Freudenberg’s precise specifications. The material will be engineered at the Ascend Elements Research & Development Center in Westborough, Mass.


Cathode precursor (pCAM) and cathode active materials (CAM) are engineered materials used in lithium-ion batteries. Ascend Elements manufactures sustainable pCAM and CAM made from used lithium-ion batteries. As seen with a scanning electron microscope, the recycled materials are engineered to precise specifications for composition, particle size, distribution, crystallinity, morphology and porosity.

Several peer-reviewed studies have shown Ascend Elements’ recycled battery materials perform as well as similar materials made from virgin (or mined) sources while reducing carbon emissions by up to 93%.

This contract is further evidence that recycled battery metals can perform as well as virgin metals. Metals are essentially the same whether they come from a mine or a used lithium-ion battery. It’s all how you engineer the cathode material. To win this contract, Freudenberg tested our customized cathode product extensively and found it to have truly exceptional cycle-life results while achieving best-in-class safety.

—Mike O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements

Using an innovative battery recycling process and a patented cathode engineering technology, Ascend Elements is one of North America’s first commercial-scale manufacturers of sustainable CAM and cathode precursor (pCAM). Ascend Elements in June 2023 signed a multi-year contract to supply approximately $1 billion worth of sustainable pCAM for use in a major US company’s battery manufacturing process, beginning in Q4 2024. Under the terms of the agreement, the customer has the option to expand the contract to a larger quantity with a value of up to $5 billion.

Ascend Elements uses a patented process known as Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis to manufacture NMC pCAM and CAM recovered from used lithium-ion batteries and battery gigafactory manufacturing scrap. The closed-loop process eliminates several intermediary steps in the traditional cathode manufacturing process and provides significant economic and carbon-reduction benefits.

Earlier this month, Ascend Elements announced it had raised $542 million in new equity investments, including $460 million in Series D investments and $82 million of additional investments from earlier this year. Ascend Elements’ Series D round was led by Decarbonization Partners, Singapore-based investment firm Temasek, and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Other investors include 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 other leading global investors.

The $542 million equity financing is one of the largest cleantech equity private placements in the United States of 2023 to date, and one of the top 10 equity private placements in the United States this year.


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