Massachusetts-based firm Ascend Elements revealed plans this week to invest up to $1 billion in a new sustainable lithium-ion battery materials plant in Hopkinsville, KY. The company is committing $310 million to the first phase of the project.
Known as “Apex 1,” the site will house Ascend Elements’ Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis process technology that converts black mass from recycled EV batteries into lithium-ion battery precursor, as well as sustainable cathode active material (CAM).
“The addition of Ascend Elements to Hopkinsville is a tremendous step toward building that foundation even further. This is a company focused on growing in a sustainable way and one that will benefit so many other businesses in our state and throughout North America,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a company release Monday. “I want to welcome Ascend Elements to Kentucky and thank its leaders for their commitment to our talented workforce."
Ascend Elements selected a 140-acre location in the Commerce Industrial Park II in Hopkinsville for the facility. Work on the 500,000-sq-ft plant is slated to commence in the fourth quarter of this year. Operations are expected to commence in Apex 1 toward the end of 2023.
"I'd like to thank Gov. Beshear and his staff for their support as well as everyone in Christian County and the City of Hopkinsville. Clean energy and climate technology industries are bringing good jobs to communities across the country, and we couldn't be happier with our decision to locate Apex 1 in southwest Kentucky," said Michael O'Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements, in a statement. "We're building something in Kentucky that doesn't exist anywhere in the United States – a domestic source of sustainable lithium-ion cathode material for EV batteries."
Hopkinsville was selected from over 50 locations due to its proximity to transportation, renewable energy providers, and the area’s diverse workforce, along with manufacturers of electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries in the southeast US.
"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," O'Kronley said. "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."