Redwood Materials, the US-based recycler that in 2021 announced it will start to produce cathode materials and copper foil for the anode in lithium-ion batteries, has now revealed more details of the latter project.
Over the next few years, in a new purposed-built facility, Redwood will ramp copper foil production to 100 GWh or 250,000 km of product annually; enough copper foil to build more than one million electric vehicles a year by the company's estimate.
The new facility will also host Redwood's hydrometallurgical recycling operations which indicates that copper also, after been treated in pyrometallurgical process, will be leached together with the active materials. Copper foil for current collectors is typically made through electrodeposition using electrolysis which require copper ions instead of metal.
As Redwood's production targets far outpace the amount of battery scrap the company will source recycled copper domestically from other processors.
The first customer and user of the Redwoods copper foil will be Panasonic which produce batteries in Tesla's gigafactory in close proximity to Redwood. It's also from Panasonic a lot of the feedstock comes as production scrap meaning the material is making a small local loop.
As part of our copper foil facility and expanded recycling operations, Redwood expects to invest $1 billion in Northern Nevada over the coming years and hire more than 500 people at its Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center site. Additionally, the company is searching for another battery materials campus, focused on cathode production, which will be announced during 2022. At this site about $2 billion will be invested to scale cathode production to 500 GWh.