Redwood Materials jump-starts Energy Department's battery push with big hiring plans
Battery recycling startup Redwood Materials is amping up expansion plans, including adding more than 500 new manufacturing jobs in Nevada, as the United States gets serious about supporting a shift to electric vehicles.
Why it matters: The news coincides with an event being hosted today by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to dive into the DOE's newly released blueprint for the lithium battery supply chain.
- Most of the rare earth minerals needed for lithium-ion batteries are currently sourced in China.
- The White House is pledging to spur more U.S. battery manufacturing and sustainable mining — both domestically and abroad.
- It's part of a broader initiative to improve industrial supply chains that have faced disruptions and risks, like semiconductors and pharmaceutical ingredients.
The big picture: The electric vehicle era faces a potential bottleneck because of a shortage of batteries and raw materials.
What's happening: Redwood Materials, founded by former Tesla battery chief JB Straubel, is developing a closed-loop battery supply chain that would salvage recycled lithium, nickel and cobalt from other cars, rather than mining them.
- His vision is a long way off — there aren't nearly enough EVs on the road yet — but the company is ramping up the recycling of other electronic goods.
What's new: Redwood plans to invest "hundreds of millions" of dollars to expand its operations over the next couple of years, according to a spokesperson.
- It will nearly quadruple its manufacturing space — to 550,000 square feet — in Carson City, Nevada, and it recently purchased 100 acres nears Tesla's gigafactory in Reno to support continued growth.
- The company, which currently employs 130 people, also plans to add 500 new jobs.
What they're saying: “America has a clear opportunity to build back our domestic supply chain and manufacturing sectors, so we can capture the full benefits of an emerging $23 trillion global clean energy economy," Granholm said in a statement.
- "Private sector investment like this is a sign that we can’t slow down. The American Jobs Plan will unlock massive opportunities for U.S. businesses as it spurs innovation and demand for technologies — like vehicle batteries and battery storage —c reating clean energy jobs for all.”