America Will Soon Have a Battery Supply Chain

Tesla co-founder J.B. Straubel is constructing recycling plants in the United States that will convert consumer electronics batteries into those used to power electric vehicles.

Sadrettin Akpınar

November 24, 2022 12:02 AM
Last Update: November 24, 2022 12:02 AM
tesla battery minerals

In the United States, electric car batteries are soon overtaking other commodities in importance. With the exception of one business founded by a former Tesla pioneer that is presently exploring cathode and anode processing, mineral processing operations are primarily carried out elsewhere.

J.B. Straubel, currently owns a firm called Redwood Materials that recycles used batteries to make lithium-ion batteries for automobiles. The business recently disclosed a deal with Panasonic to deliver battery hardware valued at billions of dollars, making it the first significant processed cathode contract to be awarded in the United States.

Redwood Materials Provides the Processed Mineral to Panasonic

Around one-third of an EV battery pack is made up of cathode material. Redwood Materials will provide the processed mineral to Panasonic manufacturing in Kansas City in 2025. Additionally, a significant partner of Redwood’s, the American manufacturer Tesla, will get the majority of the battery cells produced in the Kansas City factory.

Shortly before Redwood became the biggest lithium battery recycler in the U.S., Straubel’s time at Tesla enabled him to see the expanding need for the minerals required to build EV batteries. From then, Redwood expanded into the production of anode and cathode materials, a process that is perhaps just as important.

Redwood Uses 100% Recycled Cobalt and 25–30% Recycled Nickel and Lithium

Although Straubel did not disclose where the remaining resources for the facility will originate from. It is crucial to state that, Straubel did not disclose where the remaining resources for the facility will originate from. The bulk of the cobalt used in EV batteries still comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where mining activities have been criticized for violating human rights. Cobalt is still an expensive and contentious commodity.

According to Redwood Materials, the typical metal atom must travel 50,000 kilometers from the mine before it can be utilized in an EV battery pack. By 2025, the cathodes of the firm will contain 30% recycled metals. (Redwood Resources)

Redwood intends to increase its cathode manufacturing to around 100 Gigawatt hours per year by 2025. It is the equivalent of nearly one million EVs. Cathode materials also have a significant impact on EV prices.

The business has three recycling facilities close to Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada. The need for cathode and anode material processing will only grow in the coming years as EV adoption rises.

Related Article: 12 Largest EV Battery Manufacturers in the World


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