Jun 1, 2020 - Economy

Big players join forces for battery recycling

Illustration of a battery.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Two European industrial firms announced on Monday a joint venture to recycle battery materials and aluminum from electric vehicles in Norway, where EVs are gaining substantial market share.

Driving the news: The Swedish company Northvolt and the Norwegian aluminum giant Norsk Hydro plan to establish initial recycling operations next year.

  • The company also plans to have a "full-scale recycling plant" at the big battery factory it's building in Sweden.
  • Overall, Northvolt aims to source half its raw materials from recycled batteries within 10 years.

Why it matters: Recycling efforts can cut the ecological footprint of EVs, and the "circular economy" is a pillar of the European Union environmental strategy — it's even name-checked in a major pandemic stimulus proposal last week.

  • And per the Financial Times (subscription), which first reported the joint venture, the Northvolt-Norsk Hydro JV is "part of Europe’s effort to build a green battery industry to take on Tesla and Asian rivals."

What they're saying: "The partnership with Hydro is an important piece of the puzzle to secure an external feed of material before our own batteries begin returning back to us," Emma Nehrenheim, a top environmental exec at Northvolt, said in announcing the plan.

Go deeper