November 29, 2022

Panasonic, Tesla’s most important battery companion since its earliest days, plans to make use of recycled supplies equipped by a startup led by the electric-car maker’s former tech chief to supply lithium-ion cells in a extra sustainable, “closed loop” vogue.

Redwood Supplies, which already collects and recycles scrap and used battery elements from Panasonic, is to start supplying it with copper foil this yr to be used in making new lithium-ion cells at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, the electronics firm stated Tuesday throughout its CES presentation. Reusing scraps and outdated batteries can assist guarantee Panasonic meets a objective of sustainable manufacturing as output grows all through the 2020s, stated Allan Swan, president of Panasonic Power North America. 

“Redwood is making a round provide chain for electrical autos and clear power merchandise right here in the US, making them extra sustainable and driving down the price of batteries,” he stated in a video presentation. “By the tip of this yr we anticipate to incorporate Redwood’s copper foil produced from recycled supplies again into our new battery manufacturing.”

Based by JB Straubel, Tesla’s longtime chief know-how officer and a cofounder of the EV firm, Redwood is transferring shortly to grow to be a number one provider of recycled metals and supplies that it’s recovering from used batteries, battery scrap and electronics. Based mostly in Carson Metropolis, Nevada, close to the Gigafactory, the corporate has raised about $800 million to increase its recycling enterprise as demand for EV batteries–and the expensive commodities wanted to make them–grows.

Redwood stated Panasonic’s use of copper foil from recovered materials would be the first such closed-loop battery manufacturing course of–wherein batteries are recycled, remanufactured and returned to the identical manufacturing facility.

(For extra on Straubel and Redwood Supplies, see “Tesla Tech Whiz Is Mining Riches From Your Previous Batteries.”)

In September 2021, carefully held Redwood stated it might make investments greater than $1 billion to assemble $1 a big U.S. plant to make supplies wanted for EV batteries by 2025, although it hasn’t introduced the situation but.

Throughout his time at Tesla, Straubel was instrumental in overseeing the design of the carmaker’s battery pack and motors, starting with the 2008 Roadster. He additionally helped arrange and run the huge Gigafactory, the most important U.S. battery plant. He left Tesla in late 2019.

At present, Panasoninc produces about 2 billion battery cells a yr on the Tesla facility. 

“And as a lot as we have scaled up manufacturing, the most important alternative lies in entrance of us,” Swan stated. “We’re taking a look at a 5 instances progress over the subsequent decade, as an increasing number of autos go electrical.”

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