Hydro Volt aims to leverage the advanced Norwegian market for electric vehicles to secure sustainable feed of battery materials
Northvolt and Hydro today announced the formation of a joint venture, Hydro Volt, to enable recycling of battery materials and aluminium from the Norwegian market for electric vehicles. Hydro Volt will establish a recycling hub in Norway which will start operations in 2021.
The launch of the joint venture follows an investment in Northvolt by Hydro in 2019 and further strengthens the partnership between the battery manufacturer and the aluminium company, which is based around advancing circular industry technologies and material flows.
Hydro Volt will start operations in Fredrikstad, Norway, with a feed of batteries coming from the Norwegian EV market, which is one of the most advanced in the world.
Emma Nehrenheim, Chief Environmental Officer responsible for the Revolt recycling business unit at Northvolt said:
“Northvolt has set a target for 50 percent of our raw material in 2030 coming from recycled batteries. 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.”
Through the Revolt project, Northvolt seeks to reduce the need for mining raw materials, improve the security of supply and lower the environmental footprint of cells by reducing mining-related emissions. This target will be secured through a phased build-up in recycling capacity, starting with the launch of a pilot plant later this year followed by the establishment of a full-scale recycling plant at the Northvolt Ett gigafactory for lithium-ion batteries in Skellefteå, Sweden, in 2022.
The partnership between Hydro and Northvolt is an example of the emerging potential for synergies between different industries as the European economy becomes more circular and decarbonised.
Arvid Moss, Executive Vice President for Energy and Corporate Development at Hydro said:
“We are excited about the opportunities this represents. Hydro Volt 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.”
The recycling hub, which will be highly automated and designed for crushing and sorting batteries, will process more than 8 000 tons of batteries in the early stages of the launch with capacity being expanded over time. The material output from the recycling processes in Fredrikstad will include so-called black mass and aluminium, which will be transported to Northvolt’s and Hydro’s recycling plants respectively.
A formal investment decision in the recycling pilot plant is expected shortly, and the investment is estimated to around NOK 100 million on a 100% basis. The output from the planned, new battery recycling plant in Fredrikstad will include so-called black mass and aluminium, 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.
The pilot recycling facility will be highly automated and designed for crushing and sorting batteries. It will have the capacity to process more than 8,000 tons of batteries per year, with an 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 electric vehicle fleet both in Norway and Scandinavia.
A typical EV battery pack may contain more than 25 percent aluminium, adding to about 70-100 kg aluminium per pack. The aluminium retrieved from the new plant will be sent to Hydro’s recycling operations, enabling more production of low-carbon Hydro CIRCAL products.
By establishing this facility in Norway, Hydro Volt AS can access and handle battery recycling directly in the most mature EV market in the world, while at the same time reducing the number of batteries being sent out of the country. The Norwegian company Batteriretur, located in Fredrikstad, will supply batteries to the recycling plant and is also planned as the operator of the pilot plant.
The launch of the battery recycling joint venture follows Hydro’s investment in Northvolt in 2019. It will further strengthen the partnership between the battery manufacturer and the aluminium company.
For Hydro, the partnership also represents an opportunity to ensure that aluminium from Hydro will be used in tomorrow’s batteries and battery system.
Arvid Moss 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. Hydro Volt adds to our portfolio of battery initiatives, which already include investments in both Northvolt and Corvus, where we can leverage our aluminium and recycling know-how.”