Redwood Materials purchases Redux Recycling

The US recycling company founded by ex-Tesla CTO JB Straubel has completely taken over the German battery recycler Redux Recycling. The company previously belonged to the Austrian Saubermacher Group and operates a recycling plant in Bremerhaven, among other places.

Image: Redwood Materials

The US recycling company Redwood Materials, founded by ex-Tesla CTO JB Straubel, has completely taken over the German battery recycler Redux Recycling. Redux Recycling, based in Bremerhaven, previously belonged to the Austrian Saubermacher Group.

While no financial details were disclosed, the acquisition gives Redwood Materials access to over the 10,000 tonnes per year lithium-ion battery recycling plant in Bremerhaven, which opened in 2018, along with the 70 employees, including chemical engineers, metallurgists and materials scientists, who are now part of Redwood’s European team. Redwood Materials announced its expansion into Europe in February 2022. The US company plans at least two large-scale factories in Europe for the recycling and sustainable production of battery materials.

However, the recycling plant in Bremerhaven is apparently intended to fulfil a different function. The location on the North Sea coast can recycle many form factors and lithium-ion battery chemistries, Redwood emphasised. And, “The facility is centrally located in Europe and close to the port of Bremerhaven, one of the largest and most important import ports for vehicles, so Redwood is able to transport, recycle and reprocess batteries and accumulators for electric vehicles from all over Europe.” He said the Redux facility is equipped to recycle electric vehicle and e-bike batteries, stationary storage systems and consumer appliances such as mobile phones, laptops and power drills.

On the occasion of the opening of Redux Recycling’s recycling plant, which cost around 3 million euros, it was also said in 2018 that a multi-stage process developed by Saubermacher and Redux with a sorting line and mechanical processing would be used there. According to the information provided at the time, stainless steel, aluminium, copper, plastic and active materials are the main materials recovered. And: The residual energy to be discharged from the old batteries is fed into the recycling company’s operating grid.

In the course of the takeover, both the Saubermacher Group and Redwood speak of a complementary addition to their technology portfolios: “For example, Redux already achieves recycling rates of up to 95 percent for metals. The so-called active mass also represents an important recycling product where critical raw materials such as nickel, cobalt and lithium can be recovered using redwood recycling processes, such as hydrometallurgical processes,” informs the previous Redux parent Saubermacher. Redwood phrased it like this: “Redux’s proprietary technology enables it to extract valuable materials from batteries, including cobalt, lithium, nickel, and manganese with a recovery rate greater than 95 percent, complementing the high percentage recovery Redwood has already accomplished in the US.”

“Only those who quickly reach a critical size can assume a leading role in the field of lithium-ion battery recycling in the long term. Saubermacher cannot make the significant investments required for this alone. With Redwood we have found the right partner to close the battery cycle sustainably for our customers,” said Ralf Mittermayr, CEO of Saubermacher AG.

There is also a statement from Redwood Materials that shows what the American company hopes to achieve from the acquisition: “Europe continues to be the fastest growing EV market globally, driven by automakers commitments and strong government support to electrify.” To support this demand and further expand Redwood’s operations and commitment to the European market, the company said it had acquired Redux Recycling GmbH. “This acquisition will provide us with a well-established EU presence that will allow us to rapidly expand our operations, increase battery recycling capacity and work closely with already established suppliers, customers and industry partners across Europe. The European battery recycling and materials manufacturing market is growing rapidly and the acquisition of Redux positions Redwood as a key player in this market.”,


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