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Decarbonization Partners Invests in Ascend Elements, a Leading Manufacturer of Sustainable Battery Materials for Electric Vehicles

Co-leads Ascend Elements’ US$460 million Series D round

Concurrently, Decarbonization Partners Fund I reaches US$1 billion in committed capital

Decarbonization Partners, a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek focused on investing in next-generation private companies that support the acceleration of decarbonization and the transition to a net-zero economy, has co-led a growth equity investment in Ascend Elements, a U.S.-based manufacturer of sustainable, engineered battery materials for electric vehicles. Decarbonization Partners led Ascend Elements’ Series D round alongside Temasek and Qatar Investment Authority. As part of the investment, a representative of Decarbonization Partners will join Ascend Elements’ board of directors. In 2023, Ascend has raised $542 million in new equity investments, including this $460 million Series D round – one of the largest climate tech equity private placements in the U.S. so far this year1 – and $82 million of additional investments made earlier this year.

The electrification of the global economy is projected to increase lithium-ion demand over 5 times by 20302, requiring a massive scaleup of the battery supply chain and raw material supply. Additionally, efficient recycling of end-of-life batteries and scrap material is critical to accelerating the electrification of the transportation sector. Ascend Elements’ innovative technology is helping to address both of these decarbonization challenges.

Headquartered in Massachusetts, Ascend Elements is the leading provider of sustainable, closed-loop battery materials solutions. From EV battery recycling to commercial-scale production of lithium-ion battery precursor (pCAM) and cathode active materials (CAM), Ascend Elements is revolutionizing the production of sustainable lithium-ion battery materials. The Series D funding will advance construction of Ascend Elements’ Apex 1 facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, which will be North America’s first sustainable cathode precursor (pCAM) and cathode active material (CAM) manufacturing facility.

“We are thrilled to partner with Ascend Elements, which has established itself as a leader in the fast-growing sustainable battery materials space that is vital to accelerating the electrification of transport,” said Dr. Meghan Sharp, Global Head of Decarbonization Partners. “We are pleased to collaborate on this investment alongside Temasek and look forward to supporting Ascend Elements’ continued expansion and technological innovation.”

“I’d like to thank Decarbonization Partners and our new and existing partners for helping us deliver on our vision of producing sustainable, engineered battery materials at a commercial scale. Our sustainable lithium-ion battery materials will power EV batteries and accelerate the global transition to zero carbon emissions,” said CEO Mike O’Kronley of Ascend Elements. “Together, we are investing in North America’s critical EV battery infrastructure and bringing good manufacturing jobs back to the United States.”

Decarbonization Partners is currently raising its inaugural late-stage venture capital and early growth private equity investment fund, The Decarbonization Partners Fund I. The Fund has reached US$1 billion in committed capital and is expecting to hold a final close in the fourth quarter of 2023. In addition to Ascend Elements, Decarbonization Partners has invested in MycoWorks, a leading manufacturer of mycelium materials used as an alternative to animal and fossil fuel-based synthetic leather; Group14, a leading innovator in battery silicon anode material that enhances the performance of conventional lithium-ion batteries; Monolith, a next-generation energy company that produces clean hydrogen, carbon black and ammonia; and Carbon Direct, a science-based carbon management services provider and software platform. Under Dr. Sharp’s leadership, the Decarbonization Partners team has expanded to over 25 dedicated venture capital and growth equity investment and portfolio management professionals across offices in New York, San Francisco, Singapore, London, and Houston.

About Decarbonization Partners

Decarbonization Partners is a joint venture between Temasek and BlackRock focused on late-stage venture capital and early growth private equity investing in next-generation companies that provide solutions and technologies to help accelerate global efforts to achieve a net zero global economy by 2050. Decarbonization Partners combines Temasek and BlackRock's expertise in sourcing and underwriting private investments, portfolio and risk management, and sustainable technology and analytics. Decarbonization Partners invests in a wide range of companies that have proven technology and need capital to scale. The partnership targets multiple sectors, including Carbon Capture, Storage and Utilization, Bio and Low Carbon Products, Next Generation Energy, Advanced Mobility, Carbon Management Services and Digital Transformation. The partnership reflects BlackRock and Temasek's shared commitment to help build more sustainable and resilient portfolios, while also contributing to consistent, long-term financial returns that benefit their clients and stakeholders.

About Ascend Elements

Based in Westborough, Mass., Ascend Elements is the leading provider of sustainable, closed-loop battery materials solutions. From EV battery recycling to commercial-scale production of lithium-ion battery precursor (pCAM) and cathode active materials (CAM), Ascend Elements is revolutionizing the production of sustainable lithium-ion battery materials. Its proprietary Hydro-to-Cathode® direct precursor synthesis technology produces new pCAM from spent lithium-ion cells more efficiently than traditional methods, resulting in reduced cost, improved performance, and lowered GHG emissions. With fewer batteries going to landfill and a cleaner manufacturing process, Ascend Elements is taking the lithium-ion battery industry to a higher level of sustainability.

1 Source: Pitchbook data; August 2023

2 Source: McKinsey Battery Insights Demand Model; January 2023


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