Battery recycling company secures $2 billion loan from the Department of Energy

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Nevada company that recycles electric vehicle batteries has won a $2 billion green energy loan from the Biden administration.

Redwood Materials, a recycling firm founded by Tesla’s former chief technology officer, took out a conditional loan from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, which helped Tesla more than a decade ago.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was scheduled to visit the Redwood Nevada facility with Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo on Thursday.

Redwood recently announced plans to build a new $3.5 billion battery manufacturing and recycling plant in South Carolina. The Carson City, Nevada-based company plans to mine key battery components such as nickel, cobalt , lithium and copper and reuse them to make electrodes for electric vehicles.

The DOE loan is for the construction and expansion of a battery materials campus in McCarren, Nevada that will support the growing electric vehicle market in the United States. cathode active materials a production process of lithium-ion batteries. The process would recycle end-of-life battery and manufacturing waste and reprocess it into critical materials, the Energy Department said in a blog post.

Redwood Materials is expected to create about 3,400 construction jobs and employ about 1,600 full-time employees, the Energy Department said.

Redwood said in a statement it expects to produce 100 GWh annually of ultra-thin copper foil for batteries and cathode-active materials from new and recycled feedstocks in the United States. This will provide enough battery materials to produce more than a million electric vehicles a year nationwide, the company said.

Redwood Materials was founded in 2017 by Jeffrey “JB” Straubel, former chief technology officer of Tesla. It now has more than 300 employees who recycle used batteries and has supply contracts with Ford and Panasonic, which makes batteries for Tesla.

Straubel, CEO of Redwood, told the Associated Press last year that recycling battery materials will help the United States establish its electric vehicle supply chain.

“The redwood fills a critical gap in the entire piece, and our goal is to close the loop on all the materials that we’ve already mined and made into products, store them in the regions where they were sourced and are being used,” Straubel said to the AP. “Every battery that we can recycle is a battery of materials that we don’t need to mine again. So we aim to both fill a raw material gap from recycling and fill a gap in the supply chain.”

The Energy Department said the project will help meet President Joe Biden’s goal of promoting the recycling and production of critical household materials. “Domestic production of these battery components is critical to our national security, building our supply chain, and strengthening our economy over the long term,” the department said in a statement.

Using recycled materials will help improve U.S. energy security and enable the growth of reliable, large-scale U.S.-based EV battery cell manufacturing, the department said.

The Energy Department said its conditional commitment demonstrates the department’s intent to fund the project, but several steps remain for the project to reach critical milestones and certain conditions must be met before officials approve a final loan.

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