EMR and Northvolt bring recycling plant online in Germany


The British company European Metal Recycling (EMR) commissioned its Hamburg battery recycling plant last week. Following extensive modifications at the site in the city's Billbrook quarter, the recycling plant is equipped to discharge and dismantle battery packs from electric vehicles (EVs). The 12,000 square metre facility has a processing capacity of up to 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year. However, the capacity is to be successively increased to 25,000 tonnes of batteries per year, said EMR managing director Murat Bayram, when asked by EUWID. The precise scale of the investment has not yet been announced. However, when Mr Bayram spoke to EUWID in July, he referred to a "significant amount in the millions of euros".

With the growing number of electrical cars on the roads, the importance of battery recycling is also growing. Hamburg's mayor Peter Tschentscher, said the Northvolt/EMR project was crucial for the future of e-mobility in Germany and benefited the country's automotive industry by reducing the need for raw material imports.

EMR's partner in the project is the Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt. With its experience in battery cell and system production, Northvolt was responsible for the layout and process flow of the plant. The Swedish company also secures the batteries for processing.

According to the project partners, EMR is to recover the aluminium and copper from the EV battery frames, while the remaining battery modules are to be delivered to Northvolt facilities for further recycling. In addition to recovering plastics, aluminium and copper from the cells, the battery manufacturer will send the remaining material, known as "black mass", to its Revolt Ett recycling plant in northern Sweden, where it will recover battery-grade materials including lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt. When fully operational, the Revolt Ett facility is to have a processing capacity of 125,000 tonnes of black mass per year, enough to cover approximately half of Northvolt's raw material requirements at its Ett cathode production facility.

The Scandinavians have major recycling projects planned for Germany as well. At the site of its planned gigafactory in Heide, Northvolt plans to build a recycling plant for batteries and production scrap. The total investment in the Heide facility has been put at €4.5bn. In addition, about 3,000 jobs are to be created and batteries for one million electric cars are to be produced annually.

Just last week, Northvolt announced a collaboration with Zurich-based automation technology group ABB. The technology company will supply a process electrification solution for Northvolt's battery recycling plant in Skelleftea, Sweden.

EMR, too, has broader battery recycling ambitions. The company recently applied to England's Environment Agency for an environmental permit for an EV battery recycling facility and an associated battery recycling research facility to be built together in the Duddeston Mill Trading Estate in Birmingham. The plant would have a processing capacity of 2,000 tonnes per year. The consultation phase of the permit application runs until 18 September. Last year it said it that was "planning a huge 30,000 tonne-a-year UK facility which will become a European hub for EV battery recycling." The recycler is a partner in the Recovas EV battery recycling consortium whose members include carmakers Bentley, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover. When the project launched in 2021, it was expected that the circular battery supply chain would be operating commercially within three years (EUWID / dpa).

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