Ascend Elements starts operations in Poland via joint venture

The US company Ascend Elements and the Polish Elemental Strategic Metals are setting up a joint venture for the recycling of electric vehicle batteries. The joint venture will be based in Poland.

Image: Ascend Elements

The joint venture, in which both partners hold an equal stake, will be called AE Elemental and will be based in Zawiercie, Poland. The two partners are planning a recycling plant for electric car batteries there. Another plant is also to be built in Germany. In both facilities, batteries are to be dismantled and shredded to produce “black mass” that can be used to produce new battery materials.

The plant in Poland will have a processing capacity of up to 12,000 tonnes of batteries per year, which, according to Ascend Elements, is equivalent to around 28,000 electric car batteries per year. The factory planned in central Germany should also be able to recycle up to 25,000 tonnes of batteries per year, which is equivalent to around 58,000 electric car batteries. Both partners have agreed to invest in the extraction of lithium from black mass – in other words, in the subsequent phase of the circular economy. The partners want to be able to process up to 20,000 tonnes of black mass per year.

“Our partnership with Ascend Elements is more than just a strategic move into the battery recycling industry, it is a transformative step towards becoming a key player in the battery materials industry,” said Pawel Jarski, CEO of Elemental Holding. “The combination of Ascend Elements’ cutting-edge technology with our recycling expertise, large collection network, recycling platform and global footprint puts AE Elemental in a pole position in this evolving market.”

“The AE Elemental JV is a significant milestone for Ascend Elements, representing our first commercial-scale battery recycling facility in Europe. We’re pleased to be working closely with Elemental Strategic Metals,” said Mike O’Kronley, CEO of Ascend Elements. “Expanding into Europe will allow us to better service our customers locally and help the industry comply with new EU rules requiring recycled material in new batteries. This is a perfect time to expand our operations.”

Ascend Elements counts Freudenberg e-Power Systems among its partners in Germany. The two sides entered into a development partnership in September 2023. However, the company’s main focus is on its home market in the US: in March 2023, Ascend Elements opened its first factory for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries on a commercial scale in the US state of Georgia. Up to 30,000 tonnes of batteries can be processed there every year.


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