Enterprise funding for battery recycling startups is popping off recently, and the most recent to see the IRA-driven upside is Ascend Components, which introduced a large $542 million in Sequence D funding on high of $480 million in earlier DoE grants.
The eight-year-old firm recycles lithium batteries into black mass and produces cathode lively supplies (CAM) and precursor cathode lively supplies (PCAM). It’s placing these lots of of thousands and thousands in latest funding into a producing facility in Kentucky, the place it goals to refine black mass into sustainable, battery-ready supplies.
BlackRock-linked Decarbonization Companions led Ascend Components’ D spherical. Another huge names additionally chipped in, together with funds managed by Singapore and Qatar, in addition to climate-tech investor Fifth Wall. Although BlackRock markets itself as an environmentally aware investor, the agency nonetheless pumps a great deal of money into the fossil fuels business.
“Recycling batteries [into black mass], fairly frankly, is on the straightforward aspect,” Ascend Components CEO Mike O’Kronley stated on Monday in a name with TechCrunch. “So, there are many corporations which are leaping into battery recycling. What’s difficult is to make the actually high-value, battery-grade supplies on the output aspect.”
Ascend Components tells TechCrunch that it already does this work out of pilot services in Massachusetts and Michigan. The corporate goals to churn out much more battery-ready supplies (20 kilotons of PCAM per 12 months) at its Kentucky plant, after it kicks off operations there across the finish of 2024. Ascend Components’ present prospects embody Honda and SK Battery America.
Within the U.S. particularly, VCs are handing over an entire mess of cash to corporations that finally play a job in turning spent batteries into new ones. Different offers this 12 months, in addition to Ascend Components’ $542 million, embody: Redwood Supplies’ $1 billion D spherical, Nth Cycle’s focused $50 million Sequence B and Inexperienced Li-ion’s $20.5 million “pre-Sequence B.” That’s on high of a $192 million effort from the Power Division to again battery recycling tech within the U.S., with the objective of limiting U.S. dependence on batteries produced in China.
The latest inflow of offers calls to thoughts the climate-tech funding frenzy of 2021, however in response to PitchBook knowledge, world VC funding for battery-recycling companies remains to be a methods from its peak a pair years again. In Q3 2021, PitchBook tracked $2.5 billion in funding throughout 9 offers. In the identical quarter this 12 months (with a number of weeks remaining), the info agency recorded $1.5 billion in funding throughout seven offers.