When Redwood Materials, a producer and recycler of anode and cathode battery components for electric vehicles, announced it would build a plant in Berkeley County, it caused ripples throughout South Carolina.
Not just because of the sheer size of the project and investment cost — spanning more than 600 acres and costing $3.5 billion —but because of the name behind it. The Nevada-based company’s founder, JB Straubel, also co-founded EV giant Tesla alongside Elon Musk.
Now all the renderings and public meetings are becoming tangible with work finally beginning at the plant in Ridgeville that is expected to employ 1,500 people within the next 10 years.
In a statement, Redwood announced it is breaking ground for the first phase of construction at its Battery Materials Campus, located at the Camp Hall Commerce Park.
“We are starting construction on our first processing facilities to include refining from recycled content and processes for battery materials manufacturing,” the statement read, in part. “We’ll also begin accepting live battery cells at the Campus in 2024, which will include end-of-life batteries from electric and hybrid vehicles and consumer products. Finally, we will be building our first warehouse, office, and lab space during the first phase of construction.”
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Redwood Materials, created in 2017, is the first company in the world that recycles used electric vehicle batteries and other types of batteries to extract crucial components that can then be sent to car manufacturers to be put into new electric vehicle batteries. Currently, those components exclusively come from Asia.
Redwood Materials works with auto dismantlers to source used and end-of-life electric vehicle batteries, either when a car reaches the end of its life or was crashed and no longer drivable.
“This is the first step in the development of our Battery Materials Campus, and we will continue building and expanding the Campus over the next decade,” Redwood’s statement read.
The company said it will begin hiring in 2024 with a focus on roles primarily involved in site buildout, but expects its operational hiring ramp up to begin in 2025.
Redwood is partnering with readySC for recruitment and training; job postings will be available here.i