Sep 14, 2021
Redwood’s plan to produce sustainable battery materials: anode copper foil and cathode active materials
To make electric vehicles and energy storage products truly sustainable and affordable we need to localize production which begins upstream from battery manufacturing. Redwood combines recycling, refining and remanufacturing on the same continent to return battery materials to local battery manufacturers. What that looks like in practice is taking in end-of-life batteries, breaking them down to their basic metals like nickel, copper, cobalt, and lithium, and then rebuilding those metals into cathode and anode products. To create a sustainable supply chain, we need this circular process replicated in every major EV and clean energy market.
While we’re moving quickly in the US to address our nation’s 2030 electrification goals, there’s another market with similarly aggressive ambitions that also relies heavily on a convoluted, overseas supply chain with high CO2 emissions: Europe. Today, Europe is the fastest growing EV market globally, with an increasing commitment from automakers. 1000 GWh battery cell production is planned in the EU to support EV sales that are expected to account for nearly 30% of total passenger cars by 2025.
Localizing the global battery supply chain on each continent will be critical to driving down the costs and increasing the sustainability of electric vehicles and clean energy storage. Just as stopping after recycling without further refining and remanufacturing battery materials doesn’t address some of the biggest cost and environmental issues, shipping finished products across the world also cannot be the goal as the world electrifies. In Europe, we will replicate the same circular supply chain we’re building in the US; collecting end of life batteries for recycling and then returning anode copper foil and cathode active materials to partners in Europe.
In 2022, we will significantly expand our international team, growing our operations and establishing partnerships with automakers and battery cell manufactures in the EU. To support this effort, we have two European leaders: Dirk Demuth, who just joined as SVP of European Operations and Odd-Even Bustnes, who joined Redwood last year as VP of Business Development, Europe. They will focus on expanding our team with the best and brightest who share our vision of a closed-loop ecosystem with dramatically reduced lifecycle CO2 emissions for all lithium-ion batteries.
About a year following our US plans, and using our unique process and production technology, we will build out similar hydromet recycling operations to feed production of copper foil and cathode active material sites in Europe. This recycled material content will steadily increase every year and eventually recycled materials will account for nearly 100% of materials in batteries as the whole industry grows and the ecosystem becomes healthier. We’ll locate these facilities where we can best meet incoming materials and outgoing products, shrinking the logistics footprint on both ends as much as possible and locating where we can recruit the best talent.
We look forward to sharing more about our European expansion and encourage those who are passionate about sustainability and using technology to solve environmental problems to join our team!