Former Tesla Co-Founder Looks to Build Battery Recycling Plant

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Tesla co-founder and former executive, JB Straubel, is looking to use his company Redwood Materials to build a massive battery recycling plant. The report came from a technology conference held Wednesday, in which Straubel told viewers that he would leverage his partnerships with Panasonic Corp and online shopping giant Amazon.

Straubel told investors that the ultimate hope is to “make a material impact on sustainability, at an industrial scale.”

With efficient battery recycling, Tesla could likely improve its production efficiency substantially, allowing them to rely less on mining efforts around the world, battery companies it has partnered with, and the generation of raw materials to build its batteries from scratch.

Redwood Materials was established in early 2017, and this year alone, it’s expected to recycle over 1 gigawatt-hours’ worth of scrapped battery hardware from Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory.

While that only comprises a small fraction of Tesla’s vehicles built this year, CEO Elon Musk has stated previously at Battery Day that the company is looking to recycle more batteries in order to supplement raw materials used to make the batteries.

As the world prepares for the public to move to sustainable transportation over the next few decades, batteries will remain a cornerstone barrier – though if Straubel can effectively begin recycling them at high rates, it will have an exponentially-positive impact on the transition to sustainability in vehicles.