Hydrovolt has inaugurated the very first electric vehicle battery recycling plant in Europe. The facility is located in Fredrikstad, Norway, and is the result of the cooperation between primary battery manufacturer Northvolt and Hydro, a leading aluminium and energy company. With the plant now online, a sustainable solution for handling Norway’s entire volume of electric vehicle batteries being retired from the market, or reaching end-of-life, is now available.
Hydrovolt can recover about 95% of the materials in a battery
Integrated with a novel process design, Hydrovolt can recover and isolate some 95% of the materials in a battery including, plastics, copper, aluminium and black mass (a compound containing nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium). Several novel concepts designed to maximise recovery of materials are found within the plant, including a dust collection system which ensures valuable material typically lost through mechanical recycling steps is captured.
The joint venture is exploring an expansion of recycling capacity within Europe, with a long-term target to recycle approximately 70,000 tons of battery packs by 2025 and 300,000 tons of battery packs by 2030, equivalent to approximately 150,000 EV batteries in 2025 and 500,000 in 2030.
Significantly, the recovery of black mass will reduce today’s dependence on mining as a source for primary raw materials, and all the relative risks and vulnerabilities associated with it.
«Enabling the sustainable long-term use of batteries»
«Recycling end-of-life batteries is a cornerstone to ensuring the electric vehicle transition is a true success from an environmental perspective. The metals used in battery production are finite, but by substituting raw materials mined from the Earth with recycled materials we can not only cut the carbon footprint of batteries but enable the sustainable long-term use of lithium-ion battery technology», commented Emma Nehrenheim, Chief Environmental Officer of Northvolt.
«Batteries play a key role in the world’s transition to renewable energy», added Arvid Moss, Executive Vice President at Hydro. «Through Hydrovolt, we are laying the foundations for a sustainable and circular supply chain for batteries in Europe. Batteries reaching end-of-life will get a new life through the recovery of black mass and aluminium. Aluminium can be recycled with only 5% of the initial energy required to produce primary aluminium, which makes it a perfect material for a circular economy».