SEOUL, Sept. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — SK Ecoplant Co., a South Korean builder, said Tuesday it joined hands with a U.S. waste recycling company to form a joint venture and build a battery recycling pretreatment plant in the U.S. state of Kentucky.
The factory will be established in Hopkinsville, in partnership with Ascend Elements and SK Ecoplant’s e-waste processing subsidiary, TES, aiming to go operational in January 2025 with a capacity to produce 12,000 tons of black mass a year.
SK Ecoplant will hold a 64 percent stake in the US$65.8 million joint venture, with 11 percent to be owned by TES and 25 percent by Ascend Elements.
Black mass refers to electronic waste consisting of shredded end-of-life battery cells. It contains high amounts of critical battery materials, like lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel. Those minerals can be extracted from the black mass for reuse in new battery production.
Recycling these materials is considered to play a key role in reducing the carbon footprint and “closing the loop” in the battery life cycle for a sustainable environment.
Ascend Elements, a Massachusetts-based company, is in the process of constructing its first cathode material precursor plant, capable of supplying 750,000 electric vehicles a year.
SK Ecoplant, the construction arm of South Korea’s SK Group, is bolstering the waste recycling solutions as a new growth engine as it accelerates the transition into green businesses.