Battery recycling company Redwood Materials has major plans for the future, and it's not just about recycling. However, without recycling, the big plans wouldn't be possible. This week, the company announced plans to spend $3.5 billion over the next 10 years on a battery-materials plant in the US state of Nevada. Redwood says it will create some 1,500 full-time jobs in the process.
As you're likely aware by now, former Tesla executive JB Straubel left the electric automaker to move forward with Redwood Materials. While it was clear it would take a long time for the new company to ramp up and begin proving its mission, Straubel shared at the beginning of 2022 that Redwood's battery recycling operations were already profitable.
In a time when a growing number of automakers are moving forward with electric cars, and most others have plans to shift in the future, battery materials are already scarce. This is not to say they're not available, but rather, hard to come by. There simply aren't enough companies mining and refining battery materials to keep up with the growth of the EV segment.
Redwood Materials, which has been around for about five years now, is in the process of ramping up production. The goal is to produce 100 gigawatt-hours of anode and cathode components by 2025, which would be enough to provide batteries for 1 million electric cars per year.
The company's larger goal is to get production up to 500 GWh by 2030, taking the number of potential EV battery packs to some 5 million or more annually.
Redwood is currently building a battery factory near Reno, Nevada. According to Automotive News, the finished facility may be the first of its kind in the US. It will provide battery materials to various automakers. The company is already recycling battery batteries from Audi, Ford, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
Straubel's company is also working in partnership with Ford and Panasonic to build out a closed-loop EV battery ecosystem to help lower costs. The plan will not only reduce electric vehicle makers' dependence on imported materials, but also decrease the environmental impact as a whole.
Pushback from environmental groups has been an obstacle for EVs. Even though they're better for the environment, raw materials sourcing, recycling, and waste are notable concerns. If companies like Redwood Materials can not only succeed in EV battery recycling efforts, but also supply batteries for a huge number of electric cars, it's a big win for the industry.