Redwood Materials, run by ex-Tesla CTO, raises $1 billion to expand recycling operations in U.S.

JB Straubel sits down with CNBC’s Phil LeBeau at Redwood Materials.

Redwood Materials, the battery and e-waste recycling startup founded by former Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel, announced Tuesday that it has closed a $1 billion funding round to expand operations in the U.S.

The company takes spent electric vehicle batteries, breaks them down and uses the metals from them — including nickel, copper, cobalt and lithium — to produce new components that can go into EV batteries.

One of Redwood’s major goals is to produce battery components domestically to reduce some of the global trade and geopolitical risks around the EV industry. Redwood also aims to use as much recycled material as possible to reduce the environmental effect the auto industry transitions from internal combustion vehicles to battery electrics and hybrids.

While Redwood initially focused on recycling, it also engages in refining and re-manufacturing, and adds what it calls sustainably mined materials into its products as needed, Straubel told CNBC earlier this year.

As CNBC previously reported, earlier this year, Redwood locked in a $2 billion loan commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy. It plans to use its funding to expand operations in the U.S., including in and beyond its base in Carson City, Nevada, and has announced plans to build a Battery Materials Campus outside Charleston, South Carolina.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm has identified domestic production of batteries and components as one way to meet growing demand for EVs, generate jobs and accelerate a transition from fossil fuels to renewable and clean energy.

Fossil fuels are the dominant form of energy utilized in the world today, and account for a majority of man-made CO2 emissions and other toxic air and particle pollutants that are driving climate change and its effects, including more frequent, more extreme weather events.

According to the Energy Information Administration, despite the growing share of EVs on the road, gasoline, excluding fuel ethanol, still accounted for 52% of total energy consumption by the U.S. transportation sector in 2022. 

North America’s battery manufacturing capacity is expected to grow to nearly 1,000 Gigawatt hours per year by 2030, according to research from Argonne National Laboratory.

For its new growth funding round, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Capricorn’s Technology Impact Fund and other unnamed funds advised by T. Rowe Price Associates led the deal, according to a company statement. The series D round of equity funding brings Redwood’s total capital raised to nearly $2 billion. OMERS, heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc., Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund and Deepwater Asset Management also invested in the round.

U.S.-sourced EV batteries still far away, says Redwood's JB Straubel

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