Our plant in Fredrikstad is the first of its kind in Europe – a modern, industrial-scale battery recycling plant scaled to meet the needs of Norway’s fleet of EVs. The facility can handle around 12,000 tons of battery packs every year, or around 25,000 EV batteries. Containing the mechanical stages of recycling, the plant is designed to maximize recovery rates and minimize environmental impacts.
Our battery recycling process is clean, efficient and powered with 100% renewable energy. After discharging batteries to zero volts, the first step in the recycling process is dismantling. EV battery packs are large and heavy (typically around 450 kg) and it would be inefficient to recycle them in this state, so we remove battery modules from their outer pack casing. As pack casings are typically made of aluminum, this is set aside for recycling by our partners.
Containing the most valuable metals we intend to recycle, battery modules represent around 70% of the weight of a battery pack and these are sent into the recycling system via a conveyor. From this point forward, the process operates in an automated, closed-loop system. This improves safety but also ensures that almost no material is lost thanks to a dust collection system.
Modules are crushed and shredded. The battery electrolyte is evaporated off and collected, and the remaining solid materials are sorted into fractions of plastics, aluminum, copper and black mass. Several different sorting techniques are used to ensure that fractions contain only one type of material.
The fractions are collected in the form of pellets, varying in size from around 0.5 to 5 mm which are packaged and prepared for delivery to our partners.
Black mass is the most valuable fraction we recover – a powder containing metals of nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium. Recycling black mass into highly purified, battery-grade material requires a hydrometallurgical treatment. Northvolt has developed and validated a hydromet process at its facilities at Northvolt Labs, Sweden where battery cells featuring 100% recycled cathode were first produced in November 2021.
Moving forward, black mass from Hydrovolt will be delivered to Northvolt’s recycling group Revolt, which is constructing one of the largest battery recycling plants in the world, Revolt Ett, alongside its first battery gigafactory in Skellefteå, Sweden. Set to enter operations in 2023, Revolt Ett will recycle some 125,000 tons of batteries per year, providing the gigafactory with 50% of its raw material needs for cathode production.