Venture Capital: Swedish Battery Startup Northvolt Produces Lithium-Ion Battery Using Recycled Materials

Batteries made from batteries.

What will happen to the approximately 250,000 tons of batteries that will reach their end-of-life in Europe alone by 2030? Swedish battery startup Northvolt has the answer: recycle them. Northvolt announced today the successful production of its first battery cell made of 100% recycled nickel, manganese and cobalt. (Northvolt)

Northvolt is now looking to set up a 125,000 ton/year giga recycling plant.

ESG breakthrough: First battery cell made from recycled materials

Northvolt’s recycling program, Revolt, produced the “breakthrough” lithium-ion battery cell featuring a nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode produced with metals recovered through the recycling of battery waste.

The company said it recovered the materials from battery waste using “a low-energy hydrometallurgical treatment which involves the use of an aqueous solution to isolate the metals and separate them from impurities.”

“Following material validation, electrochemical performance testing of cells produced with recycled metals demonstrates performance on par with cells produced with freshly-mined metals,” Northvolt said in a statement.

The company also revealed that all recycling and production processes were completed on a single site, at Northvolt Labs (pictured above) in Västerås, Sweden.

Circularity in batteries supply chain

Emma Nehrenheim, Northvolt’s Chief Environmental Officer and head of Revolt, commented: “What we have shown here is a clear pathway to closing the loop on batteries and that there exists a sustainable, environmentally-preferable alternative to conventional mining in order to source raw materials for battery production.”

“The recycling process can recover up to 95% of the metals in a battery to a level of purity on par with fresh virgin material. What we need now is to scale-up recycling capacities in anticipation of future volumes of batteries requiring recycling.”

Accordingly, the company will enhance the scope of its Revolt Ett, the giga-scale recycling plant from the original capacity to handle recycling of 125,000 tons of batteries per year. It will receive raw material from two sources – spent batteries from the market, and production waste from its new battery manufacturing unit.

Recovered materials from Revolt Ett will supply the neighboring Northvolt Ett cell manufacturing gigafactory with recycled metals sufficient for 30 GWh of battery production per year (half of Northvolt Ett’s total annual cell output).

Related Story: Swedish “Green” Battery Maker Northvolt Raises $2.75B

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