Hydrovolt, Europe’s largest electric vehicle battery recycling plant, has started operations in Norway. Through clean and innovative methods, 500,000 electric vehicle batteries will be recycled by 2030.
Hydrovolt, a joint venture between Hydro and Northvolt, recycles electric vehicle batteries at its plant in Norway. It is now Europe’s largest Electric Vehicle battery recycling facility in Europe, recycling 12,000 tonnes of batteries per year, equivalent to around 25,000 Electric Vehicle batteries.
Hydrovolt’s recycling plant is fully automated and powered by renewable energy. It can recycle up to 95% of electric vehicle battery metals, including aluminum, copper, plastics and ferrous metals, as well as black powders made from cobalt, manganese, nickel and lithium.
Hydrovolt provides a sustainable solution for the end-of-life management of Electric Vehicle batteries and contributes to a circular economy by recovering valuable metals and other materials using innovative and clean technology.
The plant will process more than 8,000 tons of automotive battery modules annually, roughly equivalent to 23,000 mid-size electric vehicle battery packs. Useful materials will be sent for reproduction after recycling and separation of raw materials.
Recycled aluminium is available to Hydro for recycling into commercial aluminium products. The black material containing cobalt, manganese, nickel, lithium and graphite is transported to Northvolt’s battery plant in Sweden for additional recycling.
Using recycled black matter, these plants will have enough material to produce 4 GWh of new batteries.
The plant has implemented several new concepts to maximize material recovery, including a dust collection system that captures valuable materials that are typically lost during processing.
Thanks to Hydrovolt’s strategy, most of the valuable materials in batteries are recycled and reused in the manufacture of new products, with very little wasted material.
By 2030, Hydrovolt intends to source half of its battery raw materials from recycled batteries. That’s a tall order as demand for electric vehicles will continue to soar.
Many Electric Vehicle batteries contain more lithium and cobalt than natural ores. Therefore, if the metal can be extracted from used batteries at a cheaper price than natural ores, the price of electric vehicle batteries will fall.
In addition to the environmental benefits of recycling itself, the creation of new recycling-related industries will bring huge economic rewards, including job creation along the chain.
Hydro’s executive vice president Arvid Moss believes batteries play an important role in the global transition to renewable energy, and Hydrovolt is building a sustainable battery supply chain in Europe.
Battery recycling will play an important role in the long-term survival of the battery industry and is essential to comply with European battery regulations.
Aluminium recovered from hydropower plants uses only about 5% of the energy compared to primary aluminium production, and the recycled black bulk cells can be used to make new batteries.
Black mass recycling will also reduce reliance on rare earth metal mining, while the use of recycled materials will reduce the carbon footprint of batteries. This will help ensure the long-term viability of the battery.
Hydrovolt’s long-term goal is to use more than 50% recycled material to produce new batteries, a percentage that will continue to increase over time.
Europe is currently taking a massive economic gamble to transform industry to net zero by 2050.
Batteries are critical to this transition, especially for long-term energy storage and electric vehicles. However, the production of batteries requires a lot of resources, including the mining of rare metals.
Hydrovolt can recover these metals from recycled batteries and reuse them to make new batteries. Recycling can also produce batteries of the same quality while leaving a much lower carbon footprint than mining, using less energy and water, and producing fewer carbon emissions.
Recycling benefits the environment and increases the availability of metals critical to society’s clean energy transition.
Hydrovolt is evaluating the feasibility of expanding capacity in Europe, with a long-term goal of recycling 150,000 Electric Vehicle batteries by 2025 and 500,000 Electric Vehicle batteries by 2030.
As electric vehicles become more popular, the demand for Electric Vehicle batteries is growing exponentially. Recycling technologies need to evolve to enable a circular economy for batteries. Building a stable Electric Vehicle battery recycling supply chain requires government funding and legislation.
Many players in the supply chain are investing in recycling old Electric Vehicle batteries, as Electric Vehicle battery recycling directly supports the sustainability of the Electric Vehicle industry and is critical to the global clean energy transition.
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