JB Straubel’s Redwood Materials has narrowed down the locations for its new battery recycling plant in Europe. Germany and Scandinavia are the top two countries on the company’s list.
Pros of Redwood Materials Germany
Germany would be a good location for Redwood Materials’ battery recycling plant in Europe. The company has deals with Tesla and Volkswagen already, so a plant in Germany would be ideal. Tesla Giga Berlin might benefit from a Redwood Materials battery plant nearby. Volkswagen also has a car plant in Wolfsburg.
In July, Redwood Materials signed a partnership agreement with Volkswagen Group of America to recycle batteries from VW and Audi electric vehicles. The battery recycling company might strike another partnership with Volkswagen for its cars in Europe.
Cons of Redwood Materials Germany
Handelsblatt sources familiar with Redwood Materials’ processes shared that the company is willing to invest around $1 billion toward its new battery recycling plant in Europe. From the company’s perspective, a plant in Germany would be a symbol of power.
However, Germany has high energy costs that could significantly increase the plant’s electricity costs. According to Trading Economics, Germany’s electricity prices reached an all-time high in August 2022 at €699.44 per MWh ($693.77 per MWh). The ongoing Ukraine-Russian war has contributed to rising electricity prices in Germany.
“Energy costs are a big issue for many companies willing to invest,” said Stefan Di Bitonto, an automotive expert in Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI).
Recycling battery materials is energy-intensive, so the cost of electricity would be a big factor in Redwood Materials’ final decision. The battery recycling company wants to help reduce electric vehicle prices by localizing the global battery supply chain. To achieve its goal, Redwood Materials needs to build a cost-effective plant, or at least use sustainable solutions like solar and batteries to keep its energy costs optimized.
Scandinavia vs. Germany
Another factor JB Straubel might consider is the EU plant’s CO2 footprint. From that perspective, countries in Scandinavia, like Norway and Sweden, might be the right choice. Scandinavian countries are leaning more towards renewable power sources, like hydropower or wind. Plus, Norway and Sweden’s electricity prices are less expensive compared to Germany.