Redwood Materials’ battery materials facility in Nevada is a $3.5 billion disruptor
Tesla co-founder JB Straubel believes Redwood Materials’ $3.5 billion battery materials factory can make a difference in the electric vehicle supply chain in the United States. With the transition of the automotive sector to electric vehicles, the need for battery materials is bound to increase. Redwood plans to ensure it can help meet this upcoming demand.
Redwood’s battery materials facility outside of Reno, Nevada is under construction and is expected to be one of the Company’s first facilities to produce key ingredients used in the manufacture of cells from recycled batteries. This is a very different strategy as well-known battery companies like SK Innovation Co. Ltd. have announced high-profile investments in the United States, primarily focused on battery cell manufacturing.
In the production of raw and intermediate materials for battery cells, the United States has played a rather subordinate role, at least so far. As noted in a report by The Wall Street Journal, Even lithium mined in the United States is usually shipped to China or other parts of Asia before it can be made into cells. This is where Redwood comes in, as the company aims to provide these key ingredients from recycled materials.
JB Straubel, CEO of Redwood Materials, stated in a recent interview that the demand for critical battery materials is increasing. The trend is also likely to become more apparent as the automotive sector begins to fully embrace electric cars. “Demand has skyrocketed and now everyone is building battery factories and electric vehicles,” Mr. Straubel said in a recent interview. “The beginning of the supply chain has not kept up,” said Straubel.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence notes that China now produces about 80% of the world’s cathode and over 90% of its anode materials. As such, the opportunities for companies like Redwood are enormous. The company’s $3.5 billion battery materials facility outside of Reno, Nevada, then is poised to be very busy once it comes online.
Redwood is preparing to manufacture giants of the thin copper foil that normally serves as the skeleton of a lithium-ion battery’s anode. By 2025, Redwood expects to produce enough cathode materials and copper foil to support one million electric vehicles annually. This is an impressive goal, but even such large numbers are only a fraction of the batteries needed by automakers.
Overall, JB Straubel expects to source approximately 30% or more of the lithium and nickel and 100% of the cobalt required by Redwood to produce cathode materials from its operations. Meanwhile, Redwood’s customer base is growing, from Panasonic, which operates Giga Nevada with Tesla less than 10 miles from Redwood’s new plant, to other automakers like Volkswagen, Volvo and Ford.
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