Ascend Elements develops cathode material for Freudenberg


The US battery-materials company Ascend Elements has entered into a development partnership with Freudenberg e-Power Systems. This means that recycled battery materials could be used in heavy commercial vehicles and ships in the future.

This is because, as part of the agreement, Ascend Elements will develop an NMC cathode material that meets Freudenberg’s exact specifications. Freudenberg manufactures cells, packs and system solutions for the above-mentioned heavy-duty vehicles and ships at the battery plant of its subsidiary Xalt Energy in Midland in the US state of Michigan.

“Freudenberg e-Power Systems is a leader in sustainable battery solutions for demanding heavy-duty applications. Integrating Ascend Elements’ recycled cathode material into our high-performance cell design reduces environmental impact while ensuring the highest product quality and exceptional durability,” explains Max Kley, CEO of Freudenberg e-Power Systems. “In addition, Ascend Elements’ domestic manufacturing contributes to the stability of our supply chain.”

Ascend Elements also confirmed that Freudenberg e-Power Systems had tested the recycled materials in advance, and found them to be good.

“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,” said Mike O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements. “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.”

Ascend Elements had raised $542 million in capital from investors a few days ago. That’s the equivalent of about €506 million. The fresh capital is to go towards the completion of the factory in Hopkinsville in the US state of Kentucky. The NMC cathode material for Freudenberg, on the other hand, will be developed at Ascend’s research and development centre in Westborough, Massachusetts.

In March 2023, Ascend Elements commissioned its first commercial-scale lithium-ion battery recycling plant in the US state of Georgia. According to Ascend Elements, the so-called ‘Base 1’ is North America’s largest recycling plant for electric vehicle batteries. Up to 30,000 tonnes of batteries can be processed there annually, which is said to be equivalent to around 70,000 e-vehicle batteries.


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