Redwood Materials announces South Carolina as home to next US battery campus

Battery recycling specialist Redwood Materials has announced its next expansion in the US, which includes a new battery materials campus in Charleston, South Carolina. As Redwood’s Easternmost facility in the US, it joins the “Battery Belt” corridor growing between Michigan and Georgia.

Redwood Materials is a company from Tesla cofounder JB Straubel that specializes in recycling, refining, and remanufacturing used battery materials in order to return them to US battery manufacturers to build new cells, particularly for EVs.

Redwood’s current footprint in Nevada is 100% electric and uses zero fossil fuels in its material recycling processes. It is there that the company is already repurposing precious battery materials to automakers in the US, like Tesla. Other clients include Nissan, Volvo, Ford, and most recently, Volkswagen Group, which announced a collaboration with Redwood this past summer.

In November, Redwood Materials shared it would supply high-nickel cathode material to Panasonic Energy at its upcoming battery manufacturing facility in De Soto, Kansas. With a new battery material campus coming to South Carolina, Redwood is significantly expanding its reach across the US, setting up shop much closer to the growing number of battery manufacturers establishing the nation’s “Battery Belt.”

Redwood US
Rendering of Redwood’s upcoming battery campus in Charleston / Source: Redwood Materials

Redwood to create 1,500 US jobs at South Carolina campus

The battery materials specialist shared details of its latest expansion in a press release today, sharing its intentions to invest $3.5 billion in the local Charleston community and provide over 1,500 new jobs.

The upcoming facility will sit along 600 acres of South Carolina land, where Redwood intends to recycle, refine, and manufacture anode and cathode components, localizing production of critical battery components to reduce costs and emissions to meet growing demand in the US.

South Carolina is a strategic choice in that it is currently home to over 500 different automakers but also sits in a prime location near Georgia, one geographical bookend of the aforementioned “Battery Belt.” Per the release:

A new manufacturing corridor from Michigan to Georgia is becoming known as America’s “Battery Belt” and is where hundreds of GWh a year of battery cell production capacity will be built and start operating between now and 2030. Yet, unless metals like lithium and nickel are produced and refined and remain in country for domestic anode and cathode manufacturing at scale, these American battery cell facilities will have to continually source the majority of their components, predominantly from Asia. This will send most (50-75%) of the economic value and job creation overseas.

When the new US battery material campus is complete and fully operational, Redwood expects it will produce 100 GWh of cathode and anode components per year. According to the company, that’s enough to power more than one million EVs. Better still, the large area of the South Carolina location will give Redwood Materials space to eventually expand to several hundred GWh per year, remaining in step with growing demand.

The company states that, like its Nevada campus, South Carolina operations will be 100% electric and doesn’t even plan to install a single gas line at the site. Per Redwood:

We will source only zero emission, clean energy and our innovative plant design and manufacturing process will allow us to reduce the CO2 emissions associated with producing these components by about 80% compared to the current Asia-based supply chain that we are dependent on for these crucial materials.

The company says it will break ground in Q1 of 2023 and expects to be operating its first recycling processes before the end of next year. You can view the official announcement from Redwood Materials as well as a glimpse into its US operations in the video below.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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