Hydro and Northvolt ‘s planned pilot plant for recycling used electric car batteries from the Norwegian car market is to receive NOK43.5m (US$4.8m) support from Enova.

Enova is a Norwegian government enterprise supporting clean energy and climate effort and the goal is to start construction of the site in early 2021.

“This is a milestone on the road to utilising the opportunities in sustainable battery recycling,” said Hydro president & CEO, Hilde Merete Aasheim.

Together with Swedish battery company Northvolt, Hydro announced in June it was establishing Hydro Volt to build a pilot plant for recycling materials from used electric car batteries. The plant, planned to be built in Fredrikstad, will be the first of its kind in Norway.

“If they succeed with this, it can be more profitable and thus more attractive to recycle batteries,” added Enova CEO, Nils Kristian Nakstad. “So this is a good project for Enova and the low-emission society.”

Hydro Volt is owned 50/50 by Hydro and Northvolt, which is a European battery manufacturer based in Sweden. Products from the planned recycling plant for batteries in Fredrikstad will consist of aluminium and other valuable battery raw materials. The aluminium will be recycled by Hydro, while other valuable materials will either be reused in Northvolt’s battery production or sold to other parties.

“The recycling plant in Fredrikstad will play an important role in driving Europe towards a circular economy in several industries,” noted Northvolt head of sustainability, Emma Nehrenheim.

“At Northvolt, we have set a goal that 50% of the raw materials we use will come from recycled batteries by 2030 and the establishment of this facility in Fredrikstad is an important milestone.”

The pilot plant in Fredrikstad will be largely automated and designed for crushing and sorting batteries. It will have the capacity to process more than 8,000 tonnes of batteries each year, with the possibility of later capacity expansion. The plant is expected to cost around NOK120m.

The plant will be operated by Batteriretur and CEO, Fredrik Andresen, will also be CEO of Hydro Volt.

The final investment decision has not yet been made, but the goal is to secure all elements in place before the year is finished, so construction can start early in 2021.