Partners will split materials generated at the plant, providing capacity to recycle batteries from Norway’s world-leading fleet of electric vehicles
Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt and global aluminium company Hydro have teamed up to develop a plant capable of recycling batteries used by Norway's rapidly growing fleet of electric vehicles (EVs).
The partners confirmed this week that they intend to build a NOK100m (£8.4m) plant in Frederikstad, south-eastern Norway, with work set to start next year.
The joint venture, dubbed Hydro Volt, will initially process more than 8,000 tonnes of batteries annually, with capacity expected to ramp up over time, the companies said.
The project is set to take advantage of the Scandinavian nation's booming EV market. Zero emissions vehicles made up more than 40 per cent of new car registrations in Norway in 2019, thanks largely to generous government subsidies and a fast-expanding charging network.
The partners said they will split the material generated by the recycling process, with aluminium sent to Hydro's recycling plants and so-called 'black mass' - a mix of minerals that includes lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel - being transported to Northvolt facilities. Meanwhile, other materials produced through the process will be sold to scrap metal buyers and other offtakers.
Hydro's executive vice president for energy and corporate development, Arvid Moss, toasted the joint venture in a statement, noting that it would allow the aluminium firm to curb its environmental impact as demand for EV battery packs - which require roughly 75 and 100 kilograms of aluminium each - surges over the coming years.
"Hydro Volt AS 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," he said. "We expect a considerable increase in the use of batteries going forward, with subsequent need for sustainable handling of used batteries. This represents a new step into an industry with considerable potential and will enhance recycling of materials."
In a second phase, operations at the plant may be expanded to cater to the EV lithium-ion battery market across Scandinavia, the partners added.
Emma Nehrenheim, chief environmental officer for Northvolt's recycling programme Revolt, said the venture would be critical for helping the battery company reach its circularity goals.
"Northvolt has set a target for 50 per cent of our raw material in 2030 coming from recycled batteries," she said. "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."
Norwegian company Batteriretur, located in Fredrikstad, will operate and supply batteries to the recycling plant, the partners said.
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