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How Ex-Tesla exec J.B. Straubel plans to build world’s top battery recycler

Redwood’s partnership with Panasonic started late last year with a pilot operation to recover materials at Redwood’s recycling facilities in nearby Carson City, according to Celina Mikolajczak, vice president of battery technology at Panasonic Energy of North America.

Mikolajczak, who spent six years at Tesla as a battery technology leader, said: “People underestimate what recycling can do for the electric vehicles industry. This could have a huge impact on raw material prices and output in the future.”

Straubel’s broader plan is to dramatically reduce mining of raw materials such as nickel, copper and cobalt over several decades by building out a circular or “closed loop” supply chain that recycles and recirculates materials retrieved from end-of-life vehicle and grid storage batteries and from cells scrapped during manufacturing.

In September, Redwood said it received funding from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, following an investment by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, backed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

“I’m excited about the work we can do together,” Straubel said of Amazon. “They have batteries in many devices,” from consumer electronics to data centers, as well as future electric delivery vehicles and drones.

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