Redwood is building a ‘Battery Materials Campus’ in Charleston
The recycling company Redwood Materials, founded by former Tesla CTO JB Straubel, has announced the construction of a new ‘Battery Materials Campus’ near Charleston in South Carolina – for battery recycling, but also for the production of new battery materials.
There, Redwood wants to recycle anode and cathode components and process them into new battery materials with 3.5 billion US dollars in investments and more than 1,500 employees. The new campus in South Carolina is expected to produce 100 GWh of cathode and anode components per year, with the potential to expand to several hundred GWh per year.
The timetable given by Redwood in the announcement is tight: construction is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2023. At the end of 2023, the first recycling process is to be put into operation. The downstream component production is then to be expanded and scaled up “step by step” – however, no timeframe is mentioned for this.
With the site in Camp Hall in Berkeley County, just outside Charleston, South Carolina, the company wants to strategically position itself for the growth of the battery industry in the USA. Redwood Materials was founded in Redwood City, California, and has a major site in Nevada – in the same industrial area as Tesla’s Gigafactory 1. Camp Hall, on the other hand, is located at the southern end of the “Battery Belt” – the corridor from Michigan through Georgia to South Carolina, where hundreds of GWh per year of battery cell production capacity is expected to come on stream by 2030. The location in Berkeley County offers the further advantage of easy access to the port of Charleston – and the site also offers rail access.
In its early years, Redwood had focused primarily on the cost advantage its recycled battery materials were said to have over mined raw materials. With the current legislation, the tone has changed somewhat: “Localising the production of critical battery components and ensuring those materials are recycled is the only way to reduce costs, emissions and geopolitical risk while meeting the demand for batteries and electrification in the US.”
The campus will process, among other things, materials supplied to Redwood from recycling collaborations already signed – with Ford, VW, Volvo, Panasonic and Toyota, for example. The operations in South Carolina are to be powered exclusively by renewable energies – Redwood announced that it will not even lay a gas pipeline to the site.