With the electrification of transport and the growing demand for renewable energy storage solutions, recycling lithium-ion batteries is no longer a choice but an imperative action to stride in the direction of sustainability and the responsible management of critical minerals like lithium, cobalt, and nickel. ABB and Northvolt have joined forces to revolutionize the world of battery recycling through a partnership to provide electrification solutions to Revolt Ett, Northvolt’s new battery recycling facility in Skellefteå, northern Sweden. This collaboration between ABB and Northvolt signals a new era in the electric vehicle and renewable energy industries.
Revolt Ett, the recycling facility, is poised to handle a staggering 125,000 tons of spent batteries and waste generated during battery production annually, solidifying its position as the world's most extensive plant. This facility is set to support Northvolt's gigafactory on the same premises. The gigafactory commenced its operations with one production block in 2022 and is actively working towards establishing additional blocks, achieving an impressive annual production capacity of 60 GWh.
ABB will deliver switchgears and variable speed drives to the recycling facility, which will match the speed of the processes taking place in the factory, ramping power up and down as required, saving energy, improving performance, and lowering maintenance. This recycling facility constitutes a crucial component of Northvolt's sustainability goals and is scheduled to commence operations in 2023. Northvolt has set a bold objective of minimizing the carbon footprint associated with its batteries to just 10 kg CO2e per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by the year 2030. An integral factor in realizing this objective is the utilization of 100 percent fossil-free energy to power Northvolt Ett.
“Batteries are a critical technology within the energy transition,” stated Emma Nehrenheim, Chief Environmental Officer at Northvolt. “But with massive growth in battery demand it is critical that we secure solutions to recycle batteries and ensure reliable, sustainable supply of critical minerals. This new facility Revolt Ett will help us achieve both of these goals as we work towards our mission of building the world’s greenest battery.”
With the growing number of batteries approaching the end of their lifecycle, Revolt Ett's battery materials recovery and hydrometallurgical processes are poised to contribute as much as 50 percent of the essential critical materials—lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese—required by Northvolt Ett by 2030. By this juncture, Northvolt's objective is to have the capacity to produce an impressive 150 GWh per year across its facilities in both Sweden and Germany.
“This is ABB’s first order within the strategically important battery recycling segment,” stated Staffan Södergård, Business Unit Manager, Battery Manufacturing, Process Industries, ABB. “In conjunction with a trusted partner in Northvolt, this project offers us the opportunity to help our customers avoid carbon emissions, reuse material, and protect critical supply chains. We look forward to its progress.”
The battery recycling market is experiencing a remarkable surge in importance and growth as the world grapples with the dual challenges of sustainable energy and resource conservation. The collaboration between ABB's proficiency in electrification and automation and Northvolt's state-of-the-art battery technology is a prime illustration of how it catalyzes the development of a dynamic battery recycling industry.