Redwood Materials, The recycling startup, founded by Tesla’s long-time CTO and co-founder JB Straubel, landed on Amazon as a new investor and customer.
Amazon’s investment in Redwood Materials is one of a handful of investments announced Thursday that comes from the e-commerce giant’s $ 2 billion Climate Pledge Fund. Amazon announced in June that it would commit to investing $ 2 billion in sustainable technologies and services to meet its commitment to operate net-zero carbon by 2040.
Amazon said Thursday that early recipients of its $ 2 billion fund include CarbonCure Technologies, which has developed a technology that uses carbon dioxide in concrete, air conditioning company Pachama, electric car maker Rivian and Turntide Technologies. Amazon has not disclosed the size of the investment.
At least one of these investments has already been announced, but without the exact detail that the funds will come from the climate fund. For example, Amazon, an existing investor in Rivian, was named as a participant in the electric car maker̵
While Amazon’s interest in Rivian has been public for more than a year, its other investments have been previously unknown.
However, earlier this month there was evidence that Amazon may have an interest in – and at least an awareness of – Redwood Materials. The startup, which was launched in 2017, recently raised $ 40 million from investors including Capricorn Investment Group and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the green fund launched by Bill Gates, which also includes Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, heard as a board member. It is possible that Amazon participated in this $ 40 million donation.
Perhaps what is more important than the amount invested is the relationship that has been established. Redwood Materials will also help Amazon recycle and reuse lithium-ion batteries from its electric vehicles, as well as e-waste from other Amazon businesses.
Redwood Materials, a recycling startup based in Carson City, Nevada, aims for a circular supply chain.
“We may have made more progress than some might think, and we are actually doing recycling operations and generating income,” Straubel told TechCrunch. “In terms of customers, we have customers on both sides of our business – on the inbound side there is material that we recycle for businesses, and on the outbound side there is chemicals and materials that we sell back into the supply chain.”
According to Straubel, Redwood already has customers on both sides of the business, although Panasonic, and now Amazon, are the only ones publicly named. Redwood recycles the scrap from Panasonic’s battery cell production in the so-called Gigafactory, which is operated with Tesla in Sparks, Nevada. The company also has customers – who have not yet been named – on the consumer electronics side, Straubel said.
“We recycle and process things as diverse as cell phone batteries, laptops, power tools, power banks, scooters and electric bikes,” he said. “So it’s an amazing variety of applications for small and medium-sized businesses that are really struggling to find a good solution these days. In particular, the recycling rates for these materials are really cruel in the market. “