How Tesla’s Battery Mastermind Is Tackling EV's Biggest Problem

How Tesla’s Battery Mastermind Is Tackling EV's Biggest Problem

Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere — in phones, laptops, tablets, cameras and increasingly cars. Demand for lithium-ion batteries has risen sharply in the past five years and is expected to grow from a $44.2 billion market in 2020 to a $94.4 billion market by 2025, mostly due to the boom in electric cars. And a shortage of lithium-ion batteries is looming in the U.S.

Former Tesla CTO and Elon Musk’s right-hand man, JB Straubel, started Redwood Materials in 2017 to help address the need for more raw materials and to solve the problem of e-waste. The company recycles end-of-life batteries and then supplies battery makers and auto companies with materials in short supply as EV production surges around the world. Straubel gave CNBC an inside look at its first recycling facility in Carson City, Nevada. Watch the video to learn why battery recycling will be an essential part in making EV production more sustainable.

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How Tesla’s Battery Mastermind Is Tackling EVs Biggest Problem

Readers Comments (50)

  1. excellent

  2. They need to buy back the used batteries that they sold us, you can’t sell us a product then want it back for free.

  3. Cambodia Development April 19, 2021 @ 11:43 pm


  4. Like all things electric I bet its going to work out cheaper and cleaner the old way.

  5. He will take us to Mars and beyond!

  6. Father told me half a century ago.
    People will always produce waste, and need to deal with.
    There’s money in it.
    I’m glad to hear this is being addressed. Just hope it can gear up fast enough. And opportunity to bring jobs back while making things a little better.
    A win, win.

  7. CNBC, What are the byproducts of the battery recycling?

  8. No one cares. Tesla mines and pollutes just as much if not more than internal combustion.

  9. Investing in Hydrogen fuel is the only lasting way to solve the world problem from Automotive pollution.

  10. As owner of Lithionics Battery: my hat is off to Redwood

  11. These batteries are considered E-Waste.
    To dispose of E-Waste responsibly, you are required to pay for it at your local rubbish tip.
    (Pay for something that’s going to be recycled and profited from as a result anyway?)….. go figure! hahaha

  12. Glad to see this important issue being dealt with logically. Wish them success

  13. Please show me the process of recycle lithium battery… how are you able to dismount the battery is so flammable

  14. ASININE……recycling is POINTLESS because selfish assholes are OVERPOPULATING THE EARTH. The Earth is FINITE. All world evils can be traced to ONE CAUSE: too many people consuming finite resources. War, Poverty, Famine, Pollution, Plague are all caused by TOO MANY PEOPLE. The solution? Only allow the Best of the Best to breed, and require stringent tests. Healthy, sane, financially stable, educated, contributing to civilization with a valuable skill, good DNA that we want to pass on. Polictally Correct fantatics and religious fanatics have a vested interest in a huge mass of starving poor unhappy people that they can manipulate. Don’t be fooled. Only MANDATORY limits on population will solve anything.,

  15. Hes got nothing his battery no better than a hundred years back

  16. 40% of lithium batteries end up in land fill sites.

  17. I live in the Philippines and we just throw them. Much easier and we do with all our garbage. Plastik and other we burn, what’s left we throw. We’re surrounded by ocean so no big deal. 5 pm when we all burn it smells bad but over night it goes up in the air.

  18. How about they pay people to recycle their phones.

  19. Why don’t we make it easier to recycle batteries?

  20. chrismechanic B April 19, 2021 @ 11:57 pm

    its true, i have still have all my old li-po packs because no were wants to take them from me. my local tip will not take them.

  21. Arianta Sariedi Munthe April 19, 2021 @ 11:58 pm

    Redwood aren’t public. Because they are Elon Musk Secret Company.
    Elon Invest to them secretly.


  22. EVs biggest problem is they dont have an engine

  23. This segment opened my eyes to the perversion of proliferating EV battery technology. Mining activities in Africa have endangered entire populations of people. The toxic waste from mining activity in copper and cobalt destroys the ecology of towns and Villages around these mines. Then there is the danger and environmental threat posed by storing used electric car batteries here in the U.S. It is an environmentally dangerous proposition for our government to continue to aggressively push for the proliferation of electric vehicles .

  24. Electric cars still use electricity to charge the cells. Nuclear is by far the cleanest source of electricity

  25. We still has oil, no worries.

  26. Actually chip shortage seems to be their worst problem currently

  27. just look at those mines but yeah EV because better for the environment there is technology to convert c02 from the air into 0 emissions fuels EV will fail

  28. Ever try to remove a battery from a Mac laptop? Manufacturers need to make it easier to "unbuild" their products.

  29. we don’t have as much batteries as we will need for every car in 2025, but they think how to rob people working in the mines and putting price cost down. don’t be fooled, as americans think about money, not enviroment.


  31. DJ Speedy Beats April 20, 2021 @ 12:13 am

    Amazing he’s extremely intelligent

  32. Why would I give them my stuff for free? These people couldn’t care less about our planet . They make billions by recycling an small amount of your items and throw the rest away in some third world country where it poisons the environment even more than in my basement. They keep digging up more raw materials anyway because of shorter and shorter lived product cycles and top of that even more product lines and models. Buy Buy Buy it’s the newest!!! Don’t be a dumb consumer cow and don’t spend thousands of dollars on devices that become worthless fast.

  33. this is biiiiig!!! great job

  34. Imagine how much more profitable it will be when the Fed isn’t taking 15% per anum through money printing

    BTC + EV

  35. "LANDFILL" the worst idea ever invented!

  36. Douglas Windsor April 20, 2021 @ 12:21 am

    The question I have is what about the items that the battery come out of cell phones computers and the casing around ev batteries

  37. hmm

  38. Gordo Alexander April 20, 2021 @ 12:22 am

    Where does the waste that you can’t refine go?

  39. There is no sustainable future that relies on car-culture, electric or otherwise. We need a mass transition to walkable towns, doing things at the local, human level. There is no sustainable industrial society. The only solution is to break free and live how people have lived for millennia. For more information about local/sustainable/happy cultures, see "Ancient Futures," about Ladakh, or Energy & Equity by Ivan Illich, which clearly explains the social damage of cars without even speaking of the environmental impact.

  40. Yes finally!

  41. Casual Observer April 20, 2021 @ 12:29 am

    Makes zero economic sense… What you are seeing is the end of the lithium ion battery, before the end of fossil fuels! 🤣😂

  42. Why don’t they just build care that run on petroleum. Way less waist.

  43. Only high end cars will have Li ion batteries… the cars for the average joe will use Na ion batteries in 10 years

  44. Screw that, if my junk is valuable, I want to get paid for some of it before it’s broken down for them to profit off of.

  45. Always Skeptical April 20, 2021 @ 12:33 am

    Mmmmmuuuuuuuuuuuhhbhhhhhh Eeeeeeelllllon MUSKy gunna save muhhhh cuntrie with his batteries

  46. All manufacturers using batteries should be regulated in terms of design of their components allowing battery recycling plants to easy access and strip their batteries.
    For example: every cell phone should have a way for the consumer to take out it’s battery and exchanging it for a new battery. On the other hand recyclers of these batteries should be able to access the raw material from batteries without creating excess waste.
    We need a standardised way to produce and recycle batteries. Incentives consumers handing back their old batteries and even fine consumers who have a bad track record of not handing back their old batteries. Standardise the entire industry

  47. Visionary stuff here. We need to recycle and de-construct our waste at the same rates it is being produced.

  48. I do not understand why a simple solution that has worked in past like recycling bottles cans simply by paying for each bottle returned-at a nominal rate is not implemented. Currently recycling is not valued or offered specifically in metals in old monitors TV circuit boards and batteries but made as an extra burden even if someone wants to do the ecological correct thing. As a result people have no incentive to recycle economically and discarded increasing at a cost of the process. This is not rocket science it is logical common sense. Simplify input to maximize output. Process is obviously very impressive. If you thing we have a handle on it checkout coastlines with plastics choking marine life down to the coral. Robots to clean up. One way to go. Maybe a different approach going in? Monetize correction on both ends.

  49. I know he mentioned that "in some cases" they pay consumers for depleted batteries, but they’ll never get close to full recovery until it’s worth it monetarily for the average consumer to take it out of their junk drawer and drive it over to Best Buy or other recovery station.

  50. Gordo Alexander April 20, 2021 @ 12:38 am

    Any one else see us clinging on China for our new green energy deal?? And being owned in one more way by them?

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