Tesla Co-Founder Attempts to Build Battery Industry in U.S.

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After reports of former Tesla executive J.B. Straubel starting battery recycling company Redwood Materials, Straubel is apparently setting his sights on a much broader goal than the already noble industry of battery recycling.

Beyond being just a battery recycling company, Straubel said on Tuesday that Redwood’s broader goal is to bring much of Asia’s hold on the battery industry to the U.S., according to Bloomberg.

While the company currently operates out of three separate facilities in Nevada, it’s looking for a million-square-foot space further east to construct one of the world’s largest battery supply factories in the world.

The news comes amidst a major global semiconductor shortage, which has slowed production for automakers across the world.

“It’s both inspiring and terrifying to see so many nations and car companies announcing their shift to electric vehicles,” Straubel said. “But there’s a massive gap in what needs to happen.”

The factory would cost more than $1 billion USD to construct, though it would allow the U.S. to become a major producer of cathodes, producing material for 100 gigawatt hours of batteries per year by the end of 2025. Cathodes also determine how much a battery costs, how well it works, and what the battery’s environmental footprint will be.

Battery cell degradation remains a concern for the future as the adoption of battery-powered cars continues to grow. In February, Redwood inked a deal with Tesla to recycle old electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and, Tesla being the world’s largest EV company, both Redwood’s recycling and production plans are set to help reduce the footprint of vehicles in the years to come.

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