Redwood Materials wants to expand beyond recycling

Redwood Materials, founded by ex-Tesla CTO JB Straubel, has announced an expansion beyond pure battery recycling. Starting from next year, Redwood itself wants to produce battery materials on a large scale from recycled materials.

As Redwood Materials now announces, a concrete location for such a production facility is to be announced by the beginning of 2022. The goal is to produce 100 GWh of cathode active materials and anode foils annually for one million electric vehicles by 2025. By 2030, production output is expected to increase to 500 GWh.

“To make electric vehicles and energy storage products fully sustainable and affordable, we must truly close the loop at the end of their life,” Redwood writes. “This means not only collecting and recycling the batteries but also moving on to fully refine the materials we recover and then reprocess them into precision battery materials to reuse those raw materials.”

With the existing supply chain for battery materials, they would travel “tens of thousands of miles” before ending in a final product. “If you look at the supply chain of a single component like the cathode, the logistics required alone contribute enormously to the overall cost and carbon footprint,” the statement said. With the production of strategic battery materials in the USA, Redwood wants to shorten the supply routes.

Initially, copper foil for anodes and cathode active material will be produced and offered to battery manufacturers. However, Redwood does not give details on the active material. Both products are to be “made from as many recycled batteries as possible” – the rest is to be “enriched with sustainably mined material”.

With the expansion to a production capacity of 500 GWh in 2030, the production of five million electric vehicles is possible, Redwood wrote. That would cover “almost half of the US’s annual vehicle production”.

At the end of July, Redwood Materials had closed a financing round of 700 million US dollars. At the time, it was said that the money was to be used to finance expansion. However, it was not known that this could also involve new business areas such as new battery materials.


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