Redwood Materials was formed in 2017 by former Tesla Co-founder JB Straubel with the aim of EV battery recycling and reuse. Over the years, the company has made partnerships in the auto industry with major manufacturers like Ford, Audi and Volvo.
Redwood and its partner automakers have a process that starts when an EV battery reaches the end of its traditional lifecycle which is usually when it’s operating at about 70% of its original capacity, Volkswagen dealerships will work with Redwood to package and transport the batteries to Redwood’s facility in Nevada. Some of the batteries are reused as energy storage in other industries, while others will be broken down into their core components for use in new electric car batteries.
According to Redwood, they can recover almost all of a battery’s constituent parts, including lithium, nickel, and cobalt. This can provide battery manufacturers with a second source of these materials which is crucial since supplies are limited and extracting raw materials from the earth has been criticised for its environmental impact. Currently, Redwood claims it recycles the equivalent of 60,000 EV batteries each year.
“Redwood and Volkswagen Group of America share a vision to create a domestic, circular supply chain for batteries that will help improve the environmental footprint of lithium-ion batteries, decrease cost and, in turn, increase access and adoption of electric vehicles,” said Redwood Materials CEO JB Straubel in a statement. “As more and more batteries reach end-of-life each year, an increasing and infinitely recyclable resource becomes available.”