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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

Sep 4, 2020 - Economy & Business

Battery firm QuantumScape taps public markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Yet another transportation startup plans to take the shortcut to an IPO and this time, it's a battery company.

What's happening: QuantumScape, a battery startup backed by Volkswagen and Bill Gates, said on Thursday it plans to go public through a reverse merger with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp.

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.