Why Ford invested $ 50 million in a battery recycling startup
Soon, the world of auto manufacturing might care as much about recycling as the new elderly member of your family. Specifically, battery recycling – with the adoption of EVs expected to increase in the coming years, crucial metals like lithium, cobalt, copper and nickel could be scarce if companies rely solely on new mining. mining.
Case in point: Last week, Ford invested $ 50 million in Redwood Materials, an electric vehicle battery recycling company run by a co-founder and former CTO of Tesla. As part of the investment, Redwood will help Ford recycle its own electric vehicle battery materials and create a “closed loop” supply chain.
- The battery recycling company claims to be able to recover 95% of the elements used in batteries, and it also closed a $ 700 million funding round in July.
- It has partnered with Panasonic and Amazon to recycle lithium-ion batteries and other electronic waste in the past.
Recycling batteries is essential to build a sustainable all-electric future, experts say, both because the supply of necessary metals is limited and because of the inhumane conditions in which certain minerals, such as cobalt, are usually extracted.
- Cobalt and nickel are at greater risk of shortages than lithium, but even this relatively abundant element could face supply problems if the adoption of electric vehicles grows as quickly as expected.
- Businesses are tackling the other end of these issues as well, trying to create new ones (for example, seabed mining), more efficient and / or safer forms of mining.
But, but, but …For now, it’s still cheaper to make batteries from newly mined materials than from recycled materials. Experts expect the economy to change as the world’s Fords start pumping electric vehicles, as has happened with the much less valuable lead-acid batteries used in gasoline cars: 98% lead-acid batteries are currently recovered or recycled.DM