Hydrovolt joint venture partners Northvolt and Hydro have commenced Europe’s largest EV battery recycling plant in Norway, with eyes already set on long-term expansion, Kallanish reports.

The facility in Fredrikstad can process 12,000 tonnes/year of battery packs, a volume equivalent to around 25,000 EV batteries. This capacity could meet Norway’s entire end-of-life recycling needs, the JV says.

Hydrovolt’s ceo Peter Qvarfordt comments the plant is a milestone on Norway’s “trailblazing journey” towards widespread electric transportation, addressing its need for sustainable battery recycling.

The JV plans to increase its recycling capacity to 70,000 t/y by 2025 and 300,000 t/y by 2030, which would be equivalent to processing 150,000 EV batteries and 500,000 batteries, respectively. Partners are yet to confirm if the expansion will be solely domestic.

Currently, the facility achieves a recovery rate of 95% including plastics, copper, aluminium and black mass (a compound containing nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium). Northvolt will re-use the battery metals to reduce dependence on mining and all the “vulnerabilities associated with it.”

By 2025, the JV expects to produce over 2,000 t/y of black mass using a hydrometallurgical method. 

“Recycling end-of-life batteries is a cornerstone to ensuring the electric vehicle transition is a true success from an environmental perspective,” says Northvolt’s chief environmental officer Emma Nehrenheim. By substituting mined raw materials with recycled materials, “we can not only cut the carbon footprint of batteries but enable the sustainable long-term use of lithium-ion battery technology,” she adds.

Rystad Energy believes recycling will provide a strong buffer to the forthcoming supply shortage of battery raw materials, in addition to a solution to ESG constraints, although not in the near term. As it takes roughly eight years for an EV or EV battery to reach end-of-life, the sector should see a significant increase in recycled batteries from 2025 onwards, Rystad predicts.