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Hydro and Northvolt Cooperate to Enable Electric Vehicle Battery Recycling

Hydro and Northvolt, a leading European battery manufacturer based in Sweden, formed a 50/50 joint venture, called Hydro Volt AS, which will focus on enabling the recycling of battery materials and aluminum from electric vehicles (EVs). A typical EV battery pack may contain more than 25% aluminum, totaling about 70-100 kg aluminum per pack.

“We expect a considerable increase in the use of batteries going forward, with subsequent need for sustainable handling of used batteries,” said Arvid Moss, executive vice president for Energy and Corporate Development in Hydro. “This represents a new step into an industry with considerable potential and will enhance recycling of materials. Hydro Volt adds to our portfolio of battery initiatives, which already include investments in both Northvolt and Corvus, where we can leverage our aluminum and recycling know-how.”

Hydro Volt AS will establish a pilot battery recycling plant in Fredrikstad, Norway. The highly automated facility will be designed for crushing and sorting batteries. Batteriretur, a battery recycling company located in Fredrikstad, Norway, will supply batteries to the recycling plant and will also be the operator of the pilot plant.

In the initial phase, the Hydro Volt facility will have capacity to process more than 8,000 tonnes of batteries per year, with the option of expanding capacity later.

In a second phase, the battery recycling facility could handle a considerable share of the commercial volumes from lithium-ion batteries in the EV fleet throughout Scandinavia.

Output from the battery recycling plant will include so-called black mass and aluminum, which will be transported to Northvolt’s and Hydro’s plants, respectively. Other products from the recycling process will be sold to scrap metal buyers and other off-takers.

“Northvolt has set a target for 50% of our raw material in 2030 coming from recycled batteries,” said Emma Nehrenheim, CEO responsible for the Revolt recycling business unit at Northvolt. “The partnership with Hydro is an important piece of the puzzle to secure an external feed of material before our own batteries begin reaching end-of-life and are returned back to us.”

By establishing this facility in Norway, Hydro Volt AS will be able to directly handle battery recycling in the most mature EV market in the world, while reducing the number of batteries sent out of the country. The new facility is expected to start production in 2021.

“We are excited about the opportunities this represents,” said Arvid Moss, executive vice president for Energy and Corporate Development in Hydro. “Hydro Volt AS [will be able to] handle aluminum 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.”

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