Hydrovolt, the joint venture between Hydro and Northvolt announced in mid-2020, has started construction of its new NOK 120 million (US$14.1 million) car battery recycling facility in Fredrikstad, Norway. The plant will have the capacity to process more than 8,000 tonnes of modules from car batteries each year, with the possibility to expand in the future.
“Norway has long been a global leader in electric car adoption,” said Fredrik Andresen, CEO of Hydrovolt. “At the start of 2021, we became the first country in the world in which over half of all new cars sold are electric. We should therefore also aim to be world-leading in recycling the used car batteries, when the electric cars reach their end-of-life.”
Hydrovolt’s operations will be closely integrated with Hydro and Northvolt’s existing businesses. Aluminum from the used car batteries will be recycled and reused by Hydro, while the “black mass” containing lithium, manganese, nickel, and cobalt will either be reused in Northvolt’s battery production operations or sold to other parties. The facility will be operated by Batteriretur, a Norwegian company that collects and recycles batteries and which will also supply used batteries to the Hydrovolt plant for recycling.
The new car battery recycling plant is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced battery recycling plants in the world. It will be powered by 100% renewable energy, extensively automated and designed for crushing and sorting batteries. Through a possible expansion, the facility could also process other types of batteries, including batteries from the marine sector.
“The world needs large-scale production of green batteries produced with a minimal carbon footprint, and this needs to be supported by recycling processes to close the loop and improve the environmental profile of batteries even further,” said Emma Nehrenheim, chief environmental officer at Northvolt. “Hydrovolt represents a key milestone on that path.”
Hydro and Northvolt formed Hydrovolt in the summer of 2020. In November 2020, Hydrovolt received NOK 43.5 million (US$5.1 million) in support from Enova, a Norwegian government enterprise supporting clean energy and climate efforts.
“Batteries play a key role in the world’s transition to renewable energy,” said Arvid Moss, executive vice president for Energy and Corporate Development at Hydro. “Through Hydrovolt, we are laying the foundations for a circular supply chain for batteries in Europe.”
Hydrovolt’s operations are planned to start in late 2021.