The Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt and the Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro announce the formation of a joint venture to enable the recycling of battery materials and aluminium from electric vehicles in the Norwegian market.
The joint venture, called Hydro Volt, will set up a recycling centre in Norway and start operations in 2021. Around 9 million euros will be invested in the Frederikstad site, south of Oslo near the Swedish border.
Norsk Hydro has held a stake in Northvolt since 2019. Both companies say they want to improve the flow of materials and recycling management around batteries. The idea is to exploit synergies between the battery and aluminium industries so that Northvolt will receive the recycled lithium, manganese and cobalt, while the aluminium components will go to Norsk Hydro – a win-win situation.
“We are excited about the opportunities this represents. Hydro Volt can handle aluminium from end-of-life batteries as part of our total metal value chain, contribute to the circular economy and at the same time lessen the climate footprint from the metal we supply,” said Arvid Moss, Executive Vice President for Energy and Corporate Development at Hydro.
To start with, the plan is for the recycling capacity to be 8,000 tonnes of batteries per year, with the capacity to be expanded over time. With a battery weight of 500 kilograms per vehicle, the capacity would thus correspond to around 16,000 electric cars.
Northvolt itself reiterates its goal of having half of its raw materials come from recycled batteries by 2030. “The partnership with Hydro is an important piece of the puzzle to secure an external feed of material before our own batteries begin returning back to us,” says Emma Nehrenheim, Chief Environmental Officer, responsible for Northvolt’s Revolt Recycling business.
Northvolt announced said Revolt recycling project in December 2019. At that time, a pilot plant was planned for 2020 at Northvolt Labs’ site in Västerås. In 2022, a recycling plant with a capacity of 25,000 metric tons is scheduled to come on stream in Skellefteå, the site of the actual battery cell factory called Northvolt Ett. Now Northvolt has confirmed the schedule that was revealed in December. There do not appear to have been any significant delays for the company due to the COVID-19 pandemic, also as Sweden has had a rather voluntary lockdown.
At the time Northvolt said they had developed methods for key cell recycling processes over the past two years. The Revolt pilot plant at the Northvolt Labs site in Västerås will develop the tools to enable these processes to be implemented on a larger scale. These developments will then also be used at Hydro Volt in Frederikstad.
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