By Samantha Flom
Redwood Materials, a Nevada-based battery recycling startup, has secured a $2 billion conditional loan commitment from the Department of Energy to ramp up its production of electric vehicle (EV) battery components.
The loan, announced Feb. 9 in a blog posted on the Energy Department website, will go toward the construction and expansion of a McCarran, Nevada, manufacturing campus that the company will use to recycle used lithium-ion batteries and production scrap to produce new materials like anode copper foil and cathode active materials.
“Anode copper foil and cathode active material are the two most critical and valuable components of lithium-ion battery manufacturing for EVs,” Loan Programs Office Director Jigar Shah wrote in announcing the loan. “Onshoring the production of these components is critical to America’s energy independence while ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of an advanced battery manufacturing industry here at home.”
Shah noted that, at present, nearly all anode and cathode production for U.S. battery cell manufacturers takes place in Asia, meaning the new facility would be among the first to do so domestically.
“Further, this latest conditional commitment comes as the EV market in America is expected to grow substantially along with U.S. automakers and component suppliers working to lead the world in electric vehicle manufacturing,” he added. “The share of annual battery-powered electric vehicles is expected to rise from about 2% in 2020 to 35% by 2030.”
According to Shah, once completed, the facility is anticipated to support the production of more than 1 million electric vehicles per year. The project is also expected to create 3,400 construction jobs and 1,600 full-time positions, including labor, technical staff, and on-site management roles. The construction jobs will go to “union, minority and/or woman-owned business enterprises.”
Launched by Tesla co-founder J.B. Straubel, Redwood Materials was identified by the Biden administration in February 2022 as one of several key players in the president’s plans to expand domestic production of critical minerals like lithium and cobalt.
Last year, the company secured a multibillion-dollar deal with Panasonic Energy—the largest supplier of electric vehicle battery cells in the United States—to supply high-nickel cathode for the production of batteries.
The company also boasts partnerships with Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Volvo.