Ford and Redwood Materials aim to recycle electric vehicle batteries forever

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Ford is partnering with battery recycling company Redwood Materials to lay the groundwork for a national supply chain for electric vehicle batteries that relies on closed-loop recycling.

The big picture: The long-term vision would ensure that critical battery materials like lithium, nickel, copper and cobalt are reused in new batteries, reducing the need for imports and avoiding further environmental damage from operation. mining.

  • Creating a circular supply chain would also help lower battery costs, making electric vehicles more affordable, according to the companies.

The context: The collaboration deal comes a week after Redwood revealed plans to move much of the battery component industry from Asia to the United States, as Bloomberg first reported.

  • Nevada-based Redwood, founded by former Tesla battery chief JB Straubel, plans to build a billion-dollar factory to produce copper anode foil and cathode materials for U.S. partners.
  • Ford, which is spending $ 30 billion on electrification until 2025, said it has invested $ 50 million in Redwood, as part of its recent $ 700 million capital raise.

Details: The two companies will start by collecting waste from Ford’s planned battery joint venture with Korean battery maker SK Innovation.

  • BlueOvalSK plans to open “several” battery factories in North America from the middle of the decade and will aim to use some of Redwood’s recycled materials.
  • Eventually, Ford and Redwood intend to salvage battery materials from end-of-life EVs, but that’s still 15 or 20 years away.

What they say : “Integrating battery recycling into our manufacturing process is really mission critical,” Lisa Drake, Ford’s chief operating officer for North America, told reporters Tuesday.

  • “As the market develops, we know that the demand for raw materials will exceed the supply. We also know that we don’t have the supply here in the United States,” she said. declared.
  • Straubel added: “The risk is that we end up in a situation similar to the current semiconductor shortage if we don’t plan ahead and are not strategic in getting supply chains in the right places. regions at the right time. ”
  • “All companies that are seriously considering switching to electric vehicles, this problem needs to be addressed,” he said.

Inventory: GM’s battery-making joint venture, Ultium Cells LLC, earlier this year announced a recycling agreement with Li-Cycle to collect and reuse waste.

  • Straubel said Redwood’s plan with Ford is “unique in depth and scope.”

What to watch: The United States recently introduced a National Lithium Battery Master Plan, which aims to establish a secure supply chain for battery materials and technology by 2030.


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