SK Ecoplant Invests USD50m in US Battery Recycling Firm Ascend Elements

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SK Ecoplant Invests USD50m in US Battery Recycling Firm Ascend Elements

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SK Ecoplant, the green business unit of SK Group [210980:KS], signed a stock purchase agreement to inject USD50m into US-based lithium-ion battery recycling firm Ascend Elements, as reported by Korea Economic Daily on September 1. Ascend Elements has effective technologies to extract rare metals individually from waste batteries, remove impurities from waste batteries, and produce precursors directly through coprecipitation. According to Ascend Elements, compared to traditional recycling methods, its technologies produce cathode active materials with higher quality, reduced cost, and less greenhouse gas emissions. The investment is part of Ascend Elements’ C-round financing, which will be used for building up a battery recycling plant in the US within the year.

SK Ecoplant aims to establish a virtuous cycle value chain and reduce South Korea’s reliance on imports of recycled plastic materials. As a result, the company accelerated its investment and acquisitions in global recycling businesses this year, taking over six domestic environmental enterprises in 2021. In February 2022, SK Ecoplant bought a 100% stake in Singapore-based electronic waste disposal and recycling firm TES Envirocorp (TES) with USD1bn. In May, it also purchased a 30% equity in Malaysian integrated waste management company Cenviro Sdn Bhd to enhance its competitiveness in the Asian waste recycling market. According to SK Ecoplant CEO Park Kyung-il, with the investments, the company will occupy the global recycling market which is expected to hit KRW600tr (USD443bn) by 2050.