Hydrovolt starts operations at new EV battery recycling plant
Northvolt's and Hydro's battery recycling joint venture, Hydrovolt, has officially started commercial recycling operations in Fredrikstad, southern Norway.
Hydrovolt's electric vehicle battery recycling plant is capable of processing approximately 12,000 tons of battery packs per year, which translates to around 25,000 EV batteries.
The company says that thanks to a novel process design, Hydrovolt can recover and isolate some 95% of the materials in a battery including, plastics, copper, aluminium and black mass, which is a compound containing nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium. Several novel concepts designed to maximise recovery of materials are found within the plant, including a dust collection system which ensures valuable material typically lost through mechanical recycling steps is captured.
Hydrovolt is already exploring an expansion of recycling capacity within Europe, with a long-term target to recycle approximately 70,000 tons of battery packs by 2025 and 300,000 tons of battery packs by 2030, equivalent to approximately 150,000 EV batteries in 2025 and 500,000 in 2030.
“Hydrovolt represents a milestone on Norway’s trailblazing journey towards widespread electric transportation. Norway has been leading the world in adoption of electric vehicles for some years, but what has been missing is recycling capacity to ensure a sustainable solution for those batteries as they reach end-of-life. Today, Hydrovolt is scaled to handle the entire volume of end-of-life batteries in Norway, but we’re now looking towards expanding to ensure we’re prepared for the higher flows of batteries we know are coming,” says Peter Qvarfordt, CEO of Hydrovolt, in a press release.
The recovery of black mass is said to reduce today’s dependence on mining as a source for primary raw materials, and all the relative risks and vulnerabilities associated with it. Processing black mass into battery-grade material requires a hydrometallurgical treatment, such as the one being established at Northvolt’s Revolt Ett recycling plant in Skellefteå, Sweden. By 2025, it is expected Hydrovolt will produce over 2,000 tonnes of black mass annually.