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Used electric car batteries will be given new life in a factory in Fredrikstad, Norway

Hydro and Swedish Northvolt are joining forces to build a pilot plant that will use new technology to recycle the materials in used electric car batteries in a climate-friendly way. Enova supports the establishment with NOK 43.5 million.

Used electric car batteries will be given new life in a factory in Fredrikstad, Norway f four
From the electric car batteries, Hydro Volt will recycle cobalt, nickel, manganese and lithium, among other things. The batteries also contain aluminium, which will be sent to Hydro’s business to become new products (Photo: Northvolt) lt

Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn (V) said: 

“Norway must invest in technology that can contribute to green change and business development. Establishment of pilot plants for improved material utilization and energy efficiency by recycling batteries is an example of this.”

Great potential

Electrification is crucial to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. At the same time, it is a challenge that battery technology is dependent on materials that are in short supply, and that the extraction of these materials also leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Efficient recycling is therefore necessary.

15 million cars are sold in Europe per year and the proportion of electric cars is also increasing rapidly outside Norway. This results in a great need for increased recycling capacity in the years to come. Already in 2030, it is estimated that there will be a need for 10 new battery recycling plants in Europe. The pilot plant being built in Fredrikstad will test how new technology can be recycled with all the materials in the batteries – combined with significantly lower energy consumption and climate footprint.

CEO Nils Kristian Nakstad in Enova said: 

“Hydro Volt succeeds with this pilot, it can be more profitable and thus more attractive to recycle batteries. Therefore, this is a good project for Enova and the low-emission society.”

Solid partners

Hydro Energi AS and Northvolt Revolt AB, through the newly established company Hydro Volt AS, are behind the recycling plant, which is planned to be located at BatteriRetur’s premises in Fredrikstad. Swedish Northvolt is in the process of establishing a large battery factory in its home country and has clear ambitions to become a key player also in battery recycling. For Hydro, the project is part of the strategy to strengthen its position in low-carbon aluminium and grow in new areas, such as recycling, renewable energy and batteries.

Hydro’s CEO, Hilde Merete Aasheim said: 

‘We are pleased that Enova sees the importance of what Hydro and Northvolt want to achieve and wants to contribute to realizing Hydro Volt. This is a milestone on the road to utilizing the opportunities that lie in sustainable battery recycling.”

The production in the pilot plant is estimated to reach approximately 8,000 tonnes of recycled material annually. If the pilot is successful, the ambition is to build a new, larger factory that will recover a significantly larger volume. 

The batteries contain valuable raw materials such as cobalt, nickel, lithium, aluminium, manganese and copper. The aluminium that is recycled is sent back to Hydro’s factories to make, among other things, new battery components, while many of the remaining materials will be used to produce new batteries at North Volt’s battery factory in Skellefteå. The materials that Hydro and Northvolt cannot utilize will be sold to others.

Cleaner materials

It is the separation process of the various materials that Hydro Volt will try to make more efficient through this pilot plant. It is not just about getting more of the materials recycled, but also ensuring better quality of the materials that are recycled. The purity of these raw materials is crucial to how much refining is needed before they can be recycled. Since the refining process is energy-intensive, the result of cleaner materials is also a more energy- and climate-efficient recycling process. 

If everything goes according to plan, the plant will be in full operation in 2022.

For more information contact: Hydro: Øyvind Breivik, Head of Global Communication Services  – e-mail:

About Enova

Enova works for Norway’s transition to a low – emission society. The restructuring requires that we cut greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard security of supply and create new values. That is why Enova works to ensure that new energy and climate technology is developed and put into use in the market.

About Hydro Volt

A joint initiative by Hydro and Northvolt, established in the summer of 2020. Plans to build Norway’s first plant for recycling electric car batteries. The facility will be one of the most technologically advanced of its kind in the world. Hydro Volt wants to contribute to a more sustainable circular economy for electric car batteries in Europe.