U.S. battery startup Redwood Materials sets deal with Korea's L&F


FILE PHOTO: A car is plugged in at a charging point for electric vehicles in London, Britain, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

(Reuters) -Battery recycling company Redwood Materials said on Wednesday it has forged an alliance with Korean battery materials maker L&F Co that could help transform the Nevada startup into a major battery component manufacturer over the next decade.

Redwood has signed a multi-year deal to use L&F's design and manufacturing technology at a new U.S. facility to make enough battery cathodes to supply up to 1 million electric vehicles a year by 2025, and more than 5 million by 2030, Redwood told Reuters, without elaborating.

The partnership is the latest element in Redwood Chief Executive J.B. Straubel's vision of building a "closed loop" or circular supply chain for EV batteries, from raw materials to recycling.

Redwood currently recycles lithium, cobalt, copper and aluminum from several sources, including the Nevada battery plant that is jointly owned and operated by Panasonic Corp and Tesla Inc. That factory has the capacity to make batteries for about 350,000 electric vehicles a year.

Straubel, a co-founder of Tesla, left the company to start Redwood in 2017. The L&F partnership is the second major alliance he's announced in the past month.

In September, Redwood said it would supply anode and cathode material to Ford Motor Co, which has a U.S. joint venture with Korean battery maker SK Innovation to make EV battery cells.

L&F supplies battery materials to SK as well as to Korea's LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI.

Its technology will enable Redwood to scale its annual cathode manufacturing capacity in the U.S., from a planned 100 gigawatt-hours in 2025 to 500GWh by 2030.

The deal is exclusive to North America and Europe. Redwood will continue its own cathode R&D.

Redwood, which raised $775 million in July from investors, including Amazon.com Inc, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price and Baillie Gifford, is valued at $3.8 billion by investor website PitchBook.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by David Gregorio and Mike Harrison)

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