Former Tesla co-founder JB Straubel’s battery recycling startup Redwood Materials announced recently that it had come to terms with Envision AESC for cell recycling efforts. After CNBC initially reported the partnership yesterday, Teslarati spoke to the battery recycling startup, indicating there are plenty of details that make the pairing ideal for the entire EV sector.
While Redwood’s most recent announcement sheds light on a partnership with AESC, it is not the only contributor to the batter recycling efforts that Straubel’s company is working on. With the conglomerate’s announcement, Redwood now works with the two largest battery manufacturing companies in North America. Along with AESC, Redwood is also working with Panasonic, Tesla’s supplier at its factory in Sparks, Nevada, known as the Tesla Gigafactory. While Envision AESC works out of Tennessee, Redwood has established two battery cell producers in separate regions of the United States, working on expanding its footprint of possible EV manufacturers who need assistance in responsibly disposing of their batteries.
Resuing battery materials will eliminate some criticism regarding mining, which can be hazardous to the environment. Ultimately, Redwood aims to give EV manufacturers the ability to reuse their materials, and it has gotten to the point that the difference between new and recycled materials is relatively “indistinguishable,” Straubel said.
However, Bill Williams, Envision AESC’s Director of Business Development, also chimed in on the partnership with Redwood. The two companies’ goals of sustainability and cost-effectiveness will help the development of the electric vehicle sector, along with the ongoing production of energy storage products that are becoming more popular.
“Envision AESC’s partnership with Redwood Materials will allow all production scrap from our US factory to be recycled, and, eventually, for Redwood to supply material for AESC. This circular supply chain supports Envision AESC’s deep commitment to sustainability and already creates substantial cost savings for Envision AESC that will be passed down to future electric vehicles and energy products.”
Batteries from AESC’s facility in Smyrna, Tennessee, are being used to power electric buses, energy storage units, and the Nissan LEAF, among many other products, a Redwood spokesperson told Teslarati. Additionally, the material being received by Redwood from both the Tesla Gigafactory makes up for more than 1 GWh of material from Panasonic alone. This is ultimately fueled by the expansion of the Gigafactory, and the material received by Redwood will return to Panasonic and be put into new batteries, according to Redwood’s spokesperson.
Redwood will recycle all production scrap from any of its partners, including cathode and anode materials and cells or battery modules that don’t pass validation and are past the point of repair. The goal of its partnership with AESC is to produce material that could eventually be returned to the supplier as a part of a fully circular supply chain, eliminating the need for massive mining pushes or extensive contracts with battery material suppliers, the spokesperson added.
Redwood’s development of recycled goods will eventually turn the EV sector into an even more sustainable industry that could lead to the complete phase-out of combustion engines altogether. If batteries are sourced properly as the EV sector continues to grow, many of the cars on the road could contain recycled materials thanks to Redwood’s initiative, turning the already Earth-friendly EV sector into one of the most sustainable industries globally.