A design-build team of Turner Construction Co., Kokosing Industrial and SSOE Group are building a sustainable battery materials manufacturing plant for Ascend Elements, Turner announced Dec. 6. The Westborough, Mass.-based battery maker says it will spend $310 million on the facility’s first phase, and may invest as much as $1 billion over additional phases.

The plan calls for construction of a 500,000-sq-ft plant dubbed “Apex 1” on a 140-acre site in Hopkinsville, Ky. Matthew Bierschbach, business leader at Toledo, Ohio-based SSOE and project manager, said in a statement that the Turner-Kokosing team would begin grading the site this month. In the meantime, SSOE is continuing to work with Ascend Elements on the design.

“This ‘design-assist’ involvement of construction trades during design helps clients like Ascend save on both cost and schedule,” he said.

Apex 1 would be a first-of-its-kind plant, according to Ascend Elements. The facility would use the company’s “hydro-to-cathode” closed-loop process, which it says can be used to manufacture battery materials from recycled batteries, reducing the need for mining and generating less waste and fewer carbon emissions than traditional cathode manufacturing processes. The company says the plant would produce enough materials to equip 250,000 electric vehicles per year. 

In October, the U.S. Dept. of Energy announced it would support construction of two plants at the site with a $480-million grant to Ascend Elements, ENR previously reported. 

Ascend Elements’ Covington, Ga., battery recycling facility would be a key source of feedstock for the plant, according to the company. In a statement, it said the location was also selected in part because of its proximity to electric vehicle and battery plants. Several such projects are currently underway in Kentucky and surrounding states. 

Up to 400 full-time jobs are expected at the plant, withTom Muraski, president of Westerville, Ohio-based Kokosing Industrial, stating that the design-build team would work with the local building trades and contracting community. Tom Manahan, senior vice president of New York City-based Turner, said Hopkinsville was hit by a tornado at the start of the year. Deadly tornados also struck other parts of western Kentucky in December 2021.

“Construction of this plant represents the single largest investment in western Kentucky history,” he said in a statement. “The result of our efforts will support economic growth in the region.”