More On Tesla Co-Founder Straubel's Redwood Battery Supply Chain

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Posted on EVANNEX on September 28, 2021 by Charles Morris

Former Tesla CTO JB Straubel has been busy since he left the California carmaker. His battery recycling venture, Redwood Materials, came out of stealth mode last year, and announced that it is already recycling scrap from Panasonic’s battery cell production at Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada. In July, it raised $700 million in new investment.

More recently, Redwood made waves in the EV media with the announcement that recycling is only part of its strategy—the company also has plans to build one of the world’s largest battery materials factories, right here in the good old USA.

“We’ve shared a lot about our recycling work, which is certainly a core component of the battery sustainability equation but is only the tip of the iceberg for Redwood,” the company announced in a press release.

“Closing the loop” to create a circular battery supply chain will mean “not just collecting and recycling the batteries but also continuing further, fully refining the materials we recover and then manufacturing them back into precision battery materials to use those raw materials again.”

This will be a win not only for US industry, but for the environment as well. “The existing battery supply chain is a convoluted system that requires materials to travel tens of thousands of miles before they make their way into a final product,” Redwood tells us. “In looking at the supply chain for a single component such as a cathode, the logistics required alone contribute enormously to the overall cost and carbon footprint.” 

For starters, Redwood plans to supply battery cell manufacturing partners with anode copper foil and cathode active materials, produced from “as many recycled batteries as available and augmented with sustainably mined material.” One of the company’s partners recently announced was Ford.

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