This story is part of our special series "Made in the USA: Ramping up clean energy manufacturing." Read more.

Video: Watch this company recycle EV batteries by crushing them

By Julian Spector

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Workers in safety gear sort through scrap material on a conveyer built
(Binh Nguyen/Canary Media)

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Canary Media thanks KORE Power for its support of our special series on clean energy manufacturing.

How do you grind up an old lithium-ion battery without starting a fire?

It’s not so easy, but startup Ascend Elements figured out a way to do it at its newly opened recycling plant in Covington, Georgia. This facility takes scrap from nearby manufacturers in the Southeastern Battery Belt, as well as old electric vehicle batteries, and carefully shreds them in specialized machinery. This produces a fine powder called black mass, which contains the materials needed to make a new battery’s cathodes and anodes.

Ascend currently sells this black mass to battery manufacturers, but the startup will soon refine the materials itself at a $1 billion factory in southern Kentucky.

Ascend’s process tackles the issue of battery waste while generating new materials, cutting down on the need for new mining. Here’s what it looks like.

(Barbara Lantz / Canary Media)

Headquartered in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with clients on every continent, KORE Power provides functional solutions to meet the growing demand for green economic expansion and a decarbonized future. As a fully integrated provider of battery cells and clean energy technology and solutions, KORE drives the energy transition through direct access to superior tech, clean energy manufacturing, and unmatched support for clean energy jobs and resilient, sustainable communities worldwide. KORE Power’s robust portfolio provides the commercial, industrial, utility and defense markets with next-generation battery cells, advanced energy storage systems that scale to grid+, intuitive asset management, and EV power and charging infrastructure support.

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Julian Spector is a senior reporter at Canary Media. He reports on batteries, long-duration energy storage, low-carbon hydrogen and clean energy breakthroughs around the world.