Hydrovolt invests in battery recycling capacity in France

Norwegian battery recycling firm Hydrovolt said that it will expand internationally by opening a facility in France, boosting a nascent hub for producing electric vehicle batteries.

The facility will open in the town of Hordain in what is becoming known as France’s Battery Valley, as four major battery production facilities are set to open. “This is a big milestone for Hydrovolt,” chief executive Ole-Christen Enger said in a statement.

“Entry to the French market will help us maintain our position as a leading European recycler of EV and industrial batteries,” he added.

A joint venture between aluminium giant Norsk Hydro and Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt, Hydrovolt operates Europe’s largest recycling used or defective electric car batteries. For electric vehicles to realise their full potential to reduce carbon emissions, recycling the batteries to reuse the valuable minerals they contain is important.

Hydrovolt is able to take used batteries and turn them into a powder, or “black mass”, made up of nickel, manganese, cobalt, lithium and graphite that can be reused to make new batteries. “Recycling provides a new supply of battery-grade metals which is preferable to freshly mined materials,” the company said.

Hydovolt says it can recover up to 95 percent of the metals from used batteries for reuse.
The EU has set recycling targets and the rush towards electric vehicles has created concerns about adequate supplies. The amount of the investment in the French facility was not given.

Hydrovolt said the facility, which could open as soon as next year, would at first serve as a collection point to discharge and dismantle batteries but is suitable for recycling operations.
“It is key for us to establish a local presence across Europe to help build a circular battery value chain,” said Enger.

Hydrovolt expects European demand for batteries to grow exponentially as EU nations and Britain move towards electric vehicles.

Some 50 major electric battery factories, or “gigafactories”, have been announced in recent years in Europe as the region strives to avoid becoming fully dependent upon Asian manufacturers in the strategic industry of the future.

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