On a 600-acre campus close to Charleston, South Carolina, Redwood Materials announced on Wednesday that it would construct a new battery materials and recycling facility. This facility will eventually employ 1,500 people and produce enough cathode and anode components each year to supply one million electric vehicles.
The incentives agreement the corporation had with the state is not well known. However, JB Straubel, a former co-founder and CTO of Tesla, has committed to investing at least $3.5 billion in the region over the next ten years through Redwood, a battery materials and recycling firm. Notably, the business said that all of its operations in South Carolina will be entirely electric and devoid of the use of fossil fuels. TechCrunch was made aware by Straubel that no gas line is even being pulled to the location.
According to the manufacturer, the Berkeley County campus at Camp Hall will generate 100 GWh of cathode and anode components annually, which is sufficient to power more than one million EVs. Batteries made on lithium-ion material have three essential components. There are two electrodes: a cathode, which is positive, and an anode, which is negative. When charging and discharging, an electrolyte often lies in the center and transports ions between the electrodes. Lithium, nickel, and cobalt are found in the cathode foils, which make up more than half of the cost of a battery cell. Redwood’s battery recycling and processing allows for the collection of all those materials.
Redwood said that in order to fulfill anticipated demand, the site’s operations could be increased to generate several hundred GWh yearly. And given the expansion of the EV business and the site’s proximity to Redwood’s current partners like Toyota, Volvo, Panasonic, and Envision AESC, all of which have a significant local presence, it’s possible that will occur.
Redwood intends to start construction on its phased buildout in the first quarter of 2023. By the end of 2023, the company hopes to have its recycling process up and running, followed by the manufacture of anode and cathode components.
Redwood Materials raised $700 million in a Series C round last year, led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates and including Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Baillie Gifford, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Fidelity. The announcement highlights the company’s explosive growth.
Redwood won a multibillion-dollar contract earlier this year to provide cathode material for battery cells made in a new factory being built in Kansas by Panasonic Energy of North America. By March 2025, the “2170” cylindrical lithium-ion batteries from the planned $4 billion Panasonic factory, which will be bigger than the Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, should start going into mass production.
The announcement made today is also a reflection of the thriving battery ecosystem, which has grown as automakers race to secure supply chains as EV production increases.
Although manufacturers are springing up all across the world, North America has seen a lot of activity. Since the August 2022 passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, a significant bill that includes a number of climate and energy provisions as well as new domestic production and material sourcing requirements on EVs to qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, the pace of new battery facility announcements in North America has increased.
According to Straubel, “The Inflation Reduction Act has tremendously accelerated even what was already a quick process of many companies locating or increasing battery production in the U.S. The Southeast, or the so-called “battery belt” between Michigan and Georgia, is where many of the notifications that are made now every week land.
Redwood Materials has its headquarters in Carson City, Nevada, where it started processing scrap from the Sparks, Nevada Gigafactory’s production of battery cells several years ago. From there, it extracted and processed mined materials like cobalt, nickel, and lithium before returning them to Panasonic.