Enterprise funding for battery recycling startups is popping off currently, and the newest to see the IRA-driven upside is Ascend Parts, which introduced a large $542 million in Sequence D funding on prime of $480 million in earlier DoE grants.
The eight-year-old firm recycles lithium batteries into black mass and produces cathode energetic supplies (CAM) and precursor cathode energetic supplies (PCAM). It’s placing these a whole bunch of tens of millions 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 Parts’ D spherical. Another massive 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 acutely 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 simple aspect,” Ascend Parts CEO Mike O’Kronley mentioned 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 Parts 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 yr) at its Kentucky plant, after it kicks off operations there across the finish of 2024. Ascend Parts’ present prospects embody Honda and SK Battery America.
Within the U.S. specifically, VCs are handing over a complete mess of cash to corporations that finally play a job in turning spent batteries into new ones. Different offers this yr, moreover Ascend Parts’ $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 prime of a $192 million effort from the Power Division to again battery recycling tech within the U.S., with the purpose 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 line with PitchBook knowledge, world VC funding for battery-recycling companies continues 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 yr (with just a few weeks remaining), the information agency recorded $1.5 billion in funding throughout seven offers.