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Freudenberg Inks Deal for Sustainable CAM from Ascend Elements

Ascend Elements’ cathode active material made from recycled Li-ion batteries will supply Freudenberg’s XALT Energy battery plant.

Michael C. Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology

September 13, 2023

2 Min Read
Freudenberg's XALT Energy facility in Midland, MI, will soon be using Ascend Elements' sustainable CAM in its cell manufacturing.Image courtesy of Freudenberg e-Power Systems

Ascend Elements, a sustainable battery material manufacturer based in the US, has announced a contract with Freudenberg e-Power Systems to develop eco-friendly cathode active material (CAM). Freudenberg’s XALT Energy battery plant in Midland, MI, specializes in producing battery cells, packs, and system solutions tailored for applications with demanding performance, durability, charge time, and safety requirements. These solutions are well-suited for marine, fuel cell hybrid, heavy-duty commercial transportation, and various other specialized electrification purposes.

According to the agreement's terms, Ascend Elements will create a custom-engineered NMC cathode material designed precisely to meet Freudenberg's specifications. This material will undergo development at the Ascend Elements Research & Development Center located in Westborough, MA.

Multiple peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated that Ascend Elements' recycled battery materials match the performance of virgin materials, while significantly reducing carbon emissions by up to 93%.

Max Kley, CEO of Freudenberg e-Power Systems, highlighted that integrating Ascend Elements' recycled cathode material into their high-performance cell design not only reduces environmental impact but also maintains product quality and durability. Additionally, he mentioned that Ascend Elements' domestic manufacturing helps stabilize their supply chain.

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Ascend Elements CEO Mike O'Kronley emphasizes that this contract serves as proof that recycled battery metals can perform just as well as virgin ones, emphasizing that the key lies in the engineering of the cathode material. Freudenberg rigorously tested Ascend Elements' customized cathode product, confirming exceptional cycle-life results and top-tier safety standards.Using an innovative battery recycling process and a patented cathode engineering technology, Ascend Elements is one of North America’s first commercial-scale manufacturers of sustainable CAM and cathode precursor (pCAM). Ascend Elements recently announced a sale of pCAM valued at up to $5 billion, signaling a shift in global battery materials supply chains.

Located in Westborough, MA, Ascend Elements employs a patented technique called Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis to produce NMC pCAM and CAM materials derived from recycled lithium-ion batteries and scrap generated in battery gigafactories. This innovative closed-loop process eliminates numerous intermediary steps in conventional cathode manufacturing, delivering notable economic advantages and substantial reductions in carbon emissions.

Freudenberg e-Power Systems, a subsidiary of Freudenberg Group, stands as a prominent global provider of emission-neutral energy systems designed for heavy-duty applications. Leveraging its extensive experience and expertise in battery and fuel cell technologies, the company offers customized solutions that promote sustainable and cost-effective e-mobility.

About the Author(s)

Michael C. Anderson

Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology, Informa Markets - Engineering

Battery Technology Editor-in-Chief Michael C. Anderson has been covering manufacturing and transportation technology developments for more than a quarter-century, with editor roles at Manufacturing Engineering, Cutting Tool Engineering, Automotive Design & Production, and Smart Manufacturing. Before all of that, he taught English and literature at colleges in Japan and Michigan.

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