Redwood gets $2 billion commitment from DoE for recycled batteries

Redwood gets  billion commitment from DoE for recycled batteries

Enlarge / Workers dismantle an EV battery module at Redwood Materials.

Redwood Materials

Battery-recycling company Redwood Materials announced today that it has a conditional commitment from the US Department of Energy for a $2 billion loan. The money will be used to build out Redwood’s recycling campus, which the company says will create jobs for 3,400 construction workers and another 1,600 full-time employees once the site is fully operational.

Redwood was founded in 2017 by former Tesla executive JB Straubel and has received investment in the past from Amazon, among others.

And in 2022, it announced a series of partnerships with OEMs, including Ford, Volvo, and Volkswagen, to recycle electric vehicle batteries. As EV battery packs from those carmakers reach their end of life, dealers and dismantlers will send them to Redwood for recycling. Of course, it will be some time before that happens, given the longevity of EV batteries, but Redwood also works with lithium-ion cells from consumer products like laptops and cellphones as well as cars.

On the other side of the process, battery makers like Panasonic will purchase recycled materials from Redwood for use in new cells.

Redwood says it began producing copper foil for anodes last month at its site in Nevada, exactly a year after breaking ground on the facility.

Redwood began making copper foil anode material in January 2023.
Enlarge / Redwood began making copper foil anode material in January 2023.

Redwood Materials

Now it’s working on recycled cathode material qualifications as well; Panasonic will be a customer for that, too, once Redwood’s Kansas plant comes fully online in 2025. An additional plant is being built in South Carolina.

Helpfully for Redwood, the recently revised clean vehicle tax credit rules will require domestically sourced minerals—which include recycled battery materials—to be used in EV battery packs for the cars to be eligible. Redwood says that “[w]ithout domestic production, US battery cell manufacturers are estimated to offshore more than $150 billion in economic value for anode and cathode components by 2030.”

Ultimately the company says it plans to produce enough battery-grade copper foil and cathode-active materials to make 100 GWh of batteries annually.

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