Ascend Elements, SK ecoplant to build new battery recycling facility in Hopkinsville

Ascend Elements is already looking to grow their presence in Hopkinsville and Christian County, as they announced their plans to build a lithium-ion battery recycling facility here. 

This is in addition to their already announced facility for Hopkinsville, where construction is underway in Commerce Park II—that $1 billion Apex 1 project is set to become operational in 2024.  This new announcement made Tuesday morning is for a new facility to be located nearby that will be focused on disassembling and shredding approximately 24,000 metric tons of used EV batteries and gigafactory scrap per year. The 100,000 square-foot facility is set to create 60 news jobs and invest $65 million. 

South West Kentucky Economic Development Director Carter Hendricks tells WHOP News this is great news for Hopkinsville and this region.

The facility will produce roughly 2,000 metric tons of black mass per year. Black mass is a fine powder that contains the valuable cathode and anode materials inside an electric vehicle battery. This project is in partnership with SK Ecoplant, and the black mass produced at the new SK ecoplant/Ascend Elements facility will help supply the Hopkinsville battery facility nearby.

Hendricks says this is a sign that Hopkinsville has what these industries want, and announcements such as can be life-changing for families.

Outside of job creation and economic investment, it also shows continuing growth in the tax base that helps keep tax rates low, along with unemployment numbers. Construction is set to begin for the recycling facility in November of this year, with a completion date set for January of 2025. 

Ascend Elements CEO Mike O’Kronley says, “We are honored to deepen our relationship with SK ecoplant on this new, state-of-the-art EV battery recycling facility. This is just the beginning of an entirely new industry in the United States. For every new EV battery gigafactory that is built, we will need to build a new battery recycling facility to process manufacturing scrap and end-of-life batteries. This is a capital-intensive endeavor, so joint ventures between strategically aligned partners is an ideal way to fund new infrastructure projects.”