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Redwood adds GM to list of recyclers

Metal Tech News - May 29, 2024

Will now recycle Ultium cells for approximately 10,000 metric tons of material a year.

Following suit as other vehicle manufacturers like Ford, Toyota, and Volkswagen, General Motors has seen the potential of the battery recycling capabilities of Redwood Materials Inc. and has announced a partnership with the Nevada-based recycling company.

Working with Ultium Cells LLC – a joint battery cell manufacturing venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution – Redwood will recycle production scrap from Ultium's massive lithium-ion battery plants in Warren, Ohio, and Spring Hill, Tennessee. The materials to be recycled include cathode and anode material, as well as cell scrap.

Redwood has already begun receiving most of the scrap generated from both of these enormous 2.8 million-square-foot operations, each of which produces roughly 80 gigawatt-hours of battery cells each year.

Redwood utilizes an approach that uses 80% less energy, generates 70% less carbon dioxide emissions, and requires 80% less water to produce battery materials, setting a new standard in resource efficiency and sustainability.

Despite tremendously efficient production rates, cell manufacturing still experiences a 5-10% scrap rate on average. This equates to approximately 10,000 metric tons of material annually.

"Our hydrometallurgy facility, the first commercial-scale nickel 'mine' to open in the United States in a decade, not only recycles battery manufacturing scrap into raw nickel and cobalt but also stands as the only commercial-scale source of lithium supply to come online in the U.S. in decades," Redwood penned in an announcement. "Unlike traditional mining projects that often take over a decade to become operational, we built and activated our facility in less than a quarter of the time."

With this new arrangement, GM joins not only Ford in these battery waste recycling efforts but also Toyota, as well as one of the earliest to see Redwood's potential, Volkswagen.

Also, with this partnership, Redwood now boasts deals with most of North America's battery cell manufacturers.

Receiving nearly $4 billion in over nine rounds of funding, with close to 20 investors, Redwood has grown from a humble sprout clipped from the canopy of Tesla into a mighty tree that holds billions in valuation, all in about seven years.

Although Redwood started as a battery recycling company, it has long since expanded its ambitions beyond pure recycling and seeks to produce its own battery precursor from recycled raw materials.

In April, Redwood announced that it had reached a recycling capacity of 40,000 metric tons, which corresponds to 15 to 20 GWh of battery capacity.

"Our collective goals are paramount in building America's battery supply chain and supporting a swift, sustainable transition to electric vehicles and a clean energy economy," the company wrote. "As automakers and cell manufacturers continue to ramp up domestic battery production, Redwood stands ready to support this growth with our highly sustainable and scalable battery materials process."


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