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Ascend Elements raises additional $162M to produce sustainable Li-ion battery electrode materials in US

In a follow up to one of last year’s largest cleantech private equity placements, Ascend Elements raised $162 million in new equity investments. Major investors include Just Climate, Clearvision Ventures, and IRONGREY. The new equity financing brings the company’s 12-month funding total to $704 million, including the $542 million funding round led by Decarbonization Partners, Temasek and Qatar Investment Authority in September 2023. (Earlier post.)

The new Series D2 funding will advance construction of Ascend Elements’ Apex 1 facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, which will be North America’s first sustainable cathode precursor (pCAM) manufacturing facility, slated to open in early 2025.

When complete, the 1-million-square-foot facility will produce sustainable pCAM and CAM (cathode active materials) for up to 750,000 electric vehicles per year. The project is supported in part by US Department of Energy and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

pCAM and CAM are engineered materials made to precise microstructure specifications for use in electric vehicle batteries. While most of the world’s pCAM and CAM are made in China from primary (mined) metals, US-based Ascend Elements is commercializing an efficient method to make sustainable pCAM and CAM from black mass, the traditional output of lithium-ion battery recycling facilities.

The patented Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis process eliminates several intermediary steps in the traditional cathode manufacturing process and provides significant economic and carbon-reduction benefits.

Studies such as Ma et al. (2021) have shown Ascend Elements’ recycled battery materials perform as well as similar materials made from primary (mined) sources.


  • Xiaotu Ma, Mengyuan Chen, Zhangfeng Zheng, Dennis Bullen, Jun Wang, Chloe Harrison, Eric Gratz, Yulin Lin, Zhenzhen Yang, Youtian Zhang, Fan Wang, David Robertson, Seoung-Bum Son, Ira Bloom, Jianguo Wen, Mingyuan Ge, Xianghui Xiao, Wah-Keat Lee, Ming Tang, Qiang Wang, Jinzhao Fu, Yubin Zhang, Bryer C. Sousa, Renata Arsenault, Peter Karlson, Nakia Simon, Yan Wang (2021) “Recycled cathode materials enabled superior performance for lithium-ion batteries,” Joule, Volume 5, Issue 11, Pages 2955-2970 doi: 10.1016/j.joule.2021.09.005


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