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Ascend Elements Plans Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Hydro-to-Cathode Battery Plant

Ascend Elements Inc., a producer of advanced, sustainable battery materials made from recycled lithium-ion batteries, will build a Hydro-to-Cathode Battery Plant in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The $310 million project is expected to create 250 jobs in Christian County.

The 450,000-square-foot facility on more than 140 acres in Hopkinsville’s Commerce Park II will be known as Apex 1. The location will house the company’s innovative Hydro-to-Cathode process, a closed-loop direct precursor synthesis manufacturing system that generates no toxic waste and minimal carbon emissions. The operation, planned for 2024, will produce enough recycled battery precursor and sustainable cathode active materials to equip up to 250,000 electric vehicles annually.

“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. “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.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $7.5 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $310 million and annual targets of creation and maintenance of 250 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years, and paying an average hourly wage of $34 including benefits across those jobs. Additionally, KEDFA approved the company for up to $2 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.

By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments. In addition, Ascend can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers.

“I am incredibly proud of how we in Kentucky have taken the initiative to ensure our state will be a leader in the automotive industry of the future,” Governor Andy Beshear said. “The addition of Ascend Elements to Hopkinsville is a tremendous step toward solidifying 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. I want to welcome Ascend Elements to Kentucky and thank its leaders for their commitment to our talented workforce.”

The current project is planned as Phase 1, with potential to increase to $1 billion in investment and a total of 400 jobs with subsequent phases,, according to company officials. Apex 1 will serve a range of EV-related customers and build on current partnerships, including with American Honda Motor Co. and SK Battery America.

“Every economic development project is unique and exciting, and this is certainly true for Ascend Elements. After months of discussion and assistance, we are thrilled that Ascend Elements and its leadership has selected Commerce Park II and are appreciative of the partners and support that has been provided to secure this commitment and investment,” South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council Executive Director Carter Hendricks said. “As a result, 250 families will have transformative opportunities in a world-class company and our region will reap the benefits for years to come. We offer special thanks to Governor Andy Beshear, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Tennessee Valley Authority and countless local and regional partners that have contributed to this project. We pledge this same sense of partnership and teamwork to ensure Ascend Elements’ success for generations to come.”

Based in Westborough, Massachusetts, Ascend Elements is revolutionizing the production of lithium-ion battery materials by establishing a clean and sustainable supply chain using recycled feedstock. The company’s patented Hydro-to-Cathode™ technology directly synthesizes new cathode active materials from spent lithium-ion cells more efficiently than traditional methods, resulting in reduced cost, improved performance, and lowered GHG emissions. The results are lower cost, better performance batteries with fewer discarded in landfill, a cleaner manufacturing process, and a sustainable closed-loop circular battery economy.

“TVA and Pennyrile RECC congratulate Ascend Elements on its decision to locate and create hundreds of new jobs in Christian County. Helping attract and retain jobs and investment to the region is fundamental to TVA’s mission of service,” added John Bradley, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) senior vice president of economic development, noted the impact of Ascend creating 250 jobs in Southwestern Kentucky. “We are proud to partner with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Southwestern Kentucky Economic Development Council to further that mission and celebrate this announcement together.”

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