Fortum and Hydrovolt join forces on battery recycling

A Nordic battery recycling alliance has been formed between Finnish battery recycler Fortum, and the Swedish-Norwegian battery recycling joint venture Hydrovolt. The two companies have agreed to support each in a cooperation that is part of a larger push for Northern Europe to become a model region for battery circular economy.

Image: Fortum

Fortum’s new recycling partner Hydrovolt, is itself an amalgamation of battery and metallurgical interests as a battery recycling joint venture between the Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt and the Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro. Hydrovolt is building a recycling plant in Norway. Beyond its existing plants in Finland and Germany, Fortum is also building a new pilot plant for innovative recycling methods in Finland.

With their already advanced battery recycling operations on both sides, Fortum and Hydrovolt want to close the circular economy for batteries in Northern Europe. For its part, Hydrovolt will take on the task of mechanically crushing electric vehicle batteries at its battery recycling plant in Fredrikstad, Norway, and deliver the resulting black mass to Fortum Battery Recycling’s hydrometallurgical plant in Harjavalta, Finland, for further processing. There, the metals are then recovered from the mass for subsequent use in the production of new lithium-ion batteries.

Both companies say the collaboration will enable them to strengthen their cooperation networks in the Nordic region. Fortum is to benefit from Hydrovolt’s “unique dry process, which offers greater safety and cleaner production”, while Hydrovolt should benefit from the Finish company’s strong position in the market and high innovative strength.

It is undisputed that the importance of battery recycling has increased as a result of the EU’s recently adopted Critical Raw Materials Act. By 2030, 10 per cent of battery materials for the total demand in the European Union must come from domestic production, 40 per cent from domestic processing and 45 per cent from local recycling. In addition, the EU may not source more than 65% of its annual demand for a strategic raw material from a single third country in 2030. In this way, the European Union intends to reduce the very high level of one-sided dependency on China in particular.

Fortum and Hydrovolt are both already well-known European players in the battery recycling market. Fortum Battery Recycling commissioned its hydrometallurgical recycling plant for battery materials in Harjavalta, Finland, in April 2023. At the opening, Fortum described the facility as the first commercial and largest hydrometallurgical plant in Europe in terms of recycling capacity. According to the company, Fortum Battery Recycling’s technology enables 95 per cent of the metals from the black battery mass to be recovered and thus returned to the material cycle for the production of new lithium-ion battery chemicals.

Tero Holländer, Head of Fortum Battery Recycling, says of the new collaboration, “Together, we can drive the battery industry forward with more efficient and sustainable solutions while also promoting Nordic collaboration and knowhow.”

Hydrovolt has been operating its battery recycling plant in Fredrikstad, Norway, since May 2022 and can process around 12,000 tons of battery packs (around 25,000 EV batteries) annually. The long-term goal of the joint venture is to recycle around 70,000 tons of battery packs by 2025 and 300,000 tons of battery packs by 2030, which corresponds to around 150,000 EV batteries in 2025 and 500,000 in 2030. As a joint venture between Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro and the rapidly expanding battery manufacturer Northvolt, the recycling company has clear interests in the production of new domestic raw materials for batteries.

“This collaboration is a great example of how we can create circular solutions paving the way for more sustainable practices in the industry,” says Ole-Christen Enger, CEO of Hydrovolt. “Together, we set a leading example in the Nordics, championing sustainable battery recycling and closed loop systems for securing critical raw materials.”


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