Redwood Supplies, the lithium-ion battery recycling startup based by former Tesla CTO JB Straubel, is partnering with Toyota to gather, refurbish and recycle batteries and battery supplies that may be despatched to the Japanese automaker’s upcoming North Carolina battery plant.
The partnership, which can solely gather batteries from Toyota’s hybrid and electrified autos, comes as the primary wave of Toyota Prius hybrids, which had been launched over 20 years in the past, retire from the roads.
It’s additionally the most recent in a string of partnerships between Redwood and OEMs, together with Proterra, Ford, Volvo and Panasonic, which is supplying batteries to Tesla’s Nevada gigafactory. With the approaching electrical automobile takeover, demand for battery supplies, significantly ones which are produced regionally, is skyrocketing. By partnering with Toyota and different automakers, Redwood hopes to create a round provide chain for EV batteries in the US that may finally cut back the price of batteries and offset the necessity for mining valuable metals.
Initially, Redwood will concentrate on screening the well being of Toyota automobile batteries and assessing the potential of refurbishment to allow them to go into, and lengthen the lifetime of, present vehicles when doable, in line with Alexis Georgeson, vp of communications and authorities relations at Redwood.
In circumstances the place that’s not an possibility, Redwood will recycle the batteries, pulling out supplies like copper, lithium, cobalt and nickel. The corporate will then remanufacture these supplies into anode copper foils and cathodes – the 2 principal elements of a battery that make up about 65% of the associated fee, in line with Georgeson – which might be returned to Toyota for cell manufacturing.
Redwood introduced plans to provide vital battery supplies, quite than simply recycle them, in September, so the work the corporate is doing with Toyota will likely be a superb instance of that enterprise enlargement.
“We’re going properly past what a standard recycler would do, which is simply breaking it all the way down to intermediate metals, and we’re going additional downstream to remanufacturing these metals into anode and cathode elements in order that we are able to localize the whole course of,” Georgeson advised Nob6. “In the event you’re simply recycling, you’re simply stopping at these intermediate metals that also should go to the place cathodes and anodes are manufactured, which is right this moment predominantly in Asia.”
Redwood’s work with Toyota will happen at its 175-acre Northern Nevada Battery Supplies Campus, the place the startup additionally recycles scrap from battery cell manufacturing and shopper electronics like cell telephones, laptops, energy instruments, scooters and e-bikes. The corporate can also be eyeing east coast enlargement to higher serve Toyota at its NC manufacturing unit, in addition to different regional companions, Georgeson mentioned.
The corporate says it right this moment receives greater than 6 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of end-of-life batteries yearly for recycling. Redwood additionally introduced plans to ramp up manufacturing of anode and cathode elements at its Nevada manufacturing unit to 100 GWh yearly by 2025, which is sufficient to produce a couple of million EVs a 12 months, after which scaling it to 500 GWh by 2030.
Panasonic has already reserved the anode copper foil that Redwood goals to start out producing this 12 months for Tesla’s gigafactory, mentioned Georgeson.