Panasonic will start using recycled battery components from Redwood materials this year

Panasonic will begin using copper from recycled batteries supplied by Redwood Materials to manufacture new lithium-ion batteries at its plant in Nevada later this year. According to TechCrunch, Redwood’s first recycled material will be copper foil, an essential component on the anode side of a battery cell. The anode is generally made of a copper foil covered with graphite. Redwood will begin producing copper foil in the first half of 2022, and Panasonic will begin using it to make new lithium-ion cells by the end of the year.

Last September, Redwood Materials announced plans to produce critical battery materials in the United States. It is building a $ 2 billion plant that will produce cathodes and anode sheets with a projected annual volume of 100 gigawatt hours of material by 2025. That’s enough batteries made from recycled materials to power 1,000,000 of electric cars.

“Our joint work to establish a national circular supply chain for batteries is an important step in realizing all the opportunities that electric vehicles have in shaping a much more sustainable world,” said Allan Swan, President of Panasonic Energy of North America during the presentation last September.

The announcement signals Panasonic’s desire to use more recycled material, which in turn helps reduce the amount of newly mined raw materials it has to rely on. It also shows how Redwood continues to grow its business.

recycled battery materials

Image courtesy of Redwood Materials

Redwood Materials was founded by former Tesla CTO JB Straubel in 2017 with a mission to create a circular supply chain. Have you ever heard of a similar effort to take old hellish combustion engines, melt them down, and use recycled iron, steel and aluminum to make new engine blocks, camshafts, crankshafts? , pistons, cylinders and connecting rods? No you bet your sweet bippy didn’t.

Redwood Materials recycles waste from the production of battery cells as well as batteries from cellphones, laptops, power tools, power banks, scooters and e-bikes. It extracts materials like cobalt, nickel and lithium, which it sends back to Panasonic and other customers to make new cells. Redwood says it also works with Amazon and AESC Envision in Tennessee. The goal is to create a closed loop system that will ultimately help reduce the cost of batteries and offset the need for mining.

Anti-EV advocates like to scream at the top of their lungs that manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles will create a lot of pollution, conveniently ignoring the massive pollution caused by the fossil fuel industry for over 100 years. Hopefully news of successful battery recycling operations like Redwood Materials and Li-Cycle will stop their constant barking.

Stanford researchers are working on ways to inject new life into the lithium used in today’s batteries. The truth is, there is a whole new interest in electric cars for a circular economy, something that was never possible when gasoline and diesel engines ruled the roads. This is great news for all humans who think it would be good to keep the Earth habitable for future generations.

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