Tesla and Panasonic at Giga Nevada will soon receive domestically produced copper foil for battery production. Redwood Materials will make it from old Tesla car battery packs, and other sources. The material recycled in the US, which will become a component for the production of Tesla batteries, will enable the company's customers in the country to receive an incentive for the purchase of cars.
Redwood Materials, founded by Tesla co-founder J.B. Strobel, specializes in recycling materials for batteries. The company has been working with Panasonic since 2019, which manufactures batteries exclusively for Tesla at Giga Nevada. On Monday, Redwood announced that a closed circuit would soon be in place as copper from old Tesla batteries would be recycled into components for the new batteries.
Tesla is a young company, so for a long time, it did not have a significant quantity of batteries for recycling. However, over time, their quantity continues to increase, which opens up new opportunities. Old batteries can be recycled and valuable components removed and reused. Redwood does not want to be limited to only recycling, but also wants to produce copper foil from which batteries will be produced at scale. Therefore, any scraps from the Panasonic and Tesla factory in Nevada is now recycled, and the proximity of the two plants to each other makes this process even more environmentally friendly, fast, and profitable.
Back in January 2022, Redwood announced that it would take the next step with Panasonic in the first half of 2022. At the time, it was said that the manufacturer would be the first customer to receive anode copper foil from them. In the longer term, Redwood wants to produce copper foil for battery production at a total capacity of 100 gigawatt-hours per year, or more than 1 million electric vehicles per year.
Although the time frame has probably been extended, Redwood is still trying to make it happen. The company announced on August 8 via Twitter that copper foil production should start this year and also confirmed that Panasonic will be one of the first partners. Redwood also wrote that this collaboration will be very beneficial for the environment, as it will reduce CO2 emissions by 83% annually compared to the current Asia-based supply chain.
When our copper foil production begins this year, Redwood will reduce CO2 emissions by 83% annually compared to the current Asia-based supply chain. @PanasonicNA at Gigafactory 1 will be among the first of our partners to source this critical anode component! pic.twitter.com/yo2KUkqpJ5— Redwood Materials (@RedwoodMat) August 8, 2022
The supply of copper foil to Panasonic should create a veritable cycle: copper from batteries of Tesla electric vehicles will be reused for new anode foil supplied to Giga Nevada, which will be used to produce new batteries for Tesla vehicles. According to Redwood, this is the first time the battery material will be recycled and returned to the factory where it was previously used.
It is worth noting that there are still not enough old Tesla batteries for this, so Redwood also wants to use other domestically recycled copper. At the moment, the product is exported in huge quantities to Asia for processing and the US is losing a valuable component for the production of batteries. If copper is processed in the US, then the critical metal may remain in the country and be considered domestic.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.