A new battery recycling facility will deepen Kentucky’s ties to the electric vehicle sector

A new recycling center will be built in Kentucky. It will break down old batteries from electric cars. This project costs $65 million and is a collaboration between American and South Korean companies. They will also use the materials from these batteries for another project in the same town. The recycling center will be quite big, about 100,000 square feet. It will be in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. This project will create around 60 jobs. Construction starts in November, and it should be finished by January 2025. Hopkinsville is 170 miles southwest of Louisville.

The CEO of Ascend Elements, Mike O’Kronley, says this is just the start of a new industry in the United States. He explains that as more electric car battery factories are built, we’ll need more recycling centers for the old batteries. The recycling center will take apart and shred about 24,000 metric tons of used electric car batteries and factory waste every year. That’s roughly 56,000 electric car batteries every year. The exact location of the new center hasn’t been decided yet.

In this project, SK ecoplant will be the main owner with 64%. Ascend Elements will own 25%, and TES will own 11%. SK ecoplant has already invested over $60 million in Ascend Elements since 2022. The recycling center will produce about 12,000 metric tons of black powder every year. This powder has valuable materials found in electric car batteries. This black powder will be used for Ascend Elements’ Apex 1 facility, which is a big project worth $1 billion. It’s being built in Hopkinsville and will employ 400 workers. At full capacity, it will produce enough materials for about 750,000 new electric vehicles every year. Ascend Elements recently got $542 million in funding and $480 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to speed up the construction of the Apex 1 project. They also have a battery recycling center in Covington, Georgia, and a battery laboratory in Novi, Michigan. This new recycling center in Hopkinsville will strengthen Kentucky’s connection to the electric vehicle industry. The Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, said they are becoming the electric car battery capital of the United States. They’ve attracted nearly $11 billion in investments and over 10,000 jobs in the electric vehicle sector during his time as governor.

Kentucky is also involved in a big project with Ford and SK Innovation from South Korea. They are building two battery plants in central Kentucky for $5.8 billion. It will create 5,000 jobs and make batteries for Ford’s new electric vehicles.

In the U.S., electric car sales are going up. In the first half of the year, over 557,000 electric vehicles were sold, which is 7.2% of all new vehicle sales. Last year, the market share for electric vehicles was 5.8%, with just over 807,000 sales. Experts think that electric car sales will keep growing in the next decade or even longer.

Image Source: https://na.panasonic.com/us/trends/fueling-our-ev-future

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Amar Shinde is a writer and researcher specializing in the intersection of culture, technology, and society. In their free time, they enjoy playing chess.