Northvolt, a battery company, has announced the construction of the first lithium-ion battery cell constructed entirely of recycled nickel, manganese, and cobalt. Northvolt claims that the battery’s inputs were recovered from battery trash using a low-energy hydrometallurgical technique that involves the use of an aqueous solution to isolate the metals and separate them from contaminants.
Northvolt intends to enhance its recycling facility capacity to enable the recycling of 125,000 tonnes of batteries per year, equating to about 30GWh of battery manufacture per year, through its recycling program, Revolt.
“What we have demonstrated here is a clear pathway to closing the loop on batteries and that there exists a sustainable, environmentally preferable alternative to conventional mining to source raw materials for battery production,” said Emma Nehrenheim, Northvolt’s chief environmental officer and Revolt’s head, in a statement.
“The recycling method can recover up to 95 percent of the metals in a battery to a purity level comparable to new virgin Material.” What we need today is to increase recycling capacity in anticipation of future amounts of batteries that will need to be recycled.”
Now that Northvolt has demonstrated the validity and effectiveness of its recycling process, it will focus on increasing recycling capacity in order to meet its goal of manufacturing cells made of 50 percent recycled material by 2030.
To do this, Revolt Ett, the company’s first giga-scale recycling factory under construction, will be enlarged above its initial design capacity of 125,000 tons of batteries per year. Revolt Ett will recover copper, aluminum, and polymers from the batteries and materials it recycles, in addition to direct supply of nickel, manganese, cobalt, and lithium metals into Northvolt battery production operations.
As electric cars acquire market share, an increasing number of batteries will be accessible for recycling. Developing a circular supply chain that makes use of recovered battery metals is crucial for minimizing the need for directly mined minerals.
According to Nehrenheim, projects like Northvolt’s Revolt would “substantially minimize the environmental implications of the battery sector while also contributing to our objective of setting a new bar for industrial sustainability.”