The Associated Press recently interviewed Redwood Materials CEO JB Straubel, and while there’s a lot to learn from that conversation, the topic of battery recycling’s cost-effectiveness has drawn particular attention.
JB Straubel used to work for Tesla but soon left the company to start work on a new project. At first it seemed that Redwood Materials would focus exclusively on battery recycling, which would soon become a very important industry. However, Straubel made it clear that Redwood Materials has a richer future.
However, it will be a long time before Redwood becomes a profitable company. Like Tesla a few years ago, Redwood entered a fairly underdeveloped market. However, according to Straubel, the battery recycling process itself is already profitable.
But let’s give the floor to Jeffrey Straubel himself:
“It is. We are not yet profitable because we are growing very fast, reinvesting and will do so for a few more years. But the actual battery recycling activity is already profitable today. Recycled materials are really in demand.”
Next, the Associated Press asked a very interesting question regarding the recycling of not only batteries, but also, for example, copper, which is used in electric toothbrushes, to which the head of Redwood Materials replied:
“Actually, it is. But it’s not just copper. Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most valuable materials to recycle. They’re just hard to make, and quite difficult to extract all the valuable elements.”
Concluding his speech, Straubel noted that although there are ways to recycle batteries today, it is very important to keep them out of landfills. Automakers are moving to electric vehicles as part of global strategies to reduce their negative impact on the climate. However, this may create a new, much larger problem associated with an excess of unrecycled materials from end-of-life batteries.