European energy company Fortum will begin operations at its new mechanical processing plant at Ikaalinen in Finland to recycle electric vehicle (EV) batteries in February 2021, the company said in a statement.
The new plant will expand Fortum’s annual recycling capacity to recycle 3,000mt of used batteries in Finland, equivalent to around 10,000 EVs. It will steadily increase this capacity in the coming months.
The company aims to expand its EV battery recycling business in Finland with the new plant which is in line with the country’s national battery strategy. It already has a hydrometallurgical pilot plant located in Finland’s Harjavalta region, which is able to operate on an industrial scale.
The company said that many recycling companies use the smelting processes to recover battery metals which leads to lower material recovery rates and higher emissions. However, it will use both mechanical and hydrometallurgical methods to achieve a recovery rate of up to 95pc of those metals contained in the active materials and to lower emissions.
At the new processing plant, the discarded batteries will be mechanically crushed and the metals will be separated to produce black mass, which will then be delivered to the processing plant in Harjavalta, where the further recycling process will take place.
Fortum has developed new and efficient ways to optimize the lifecycle of lithium-ion batteries for several years and aims to further expand its battery operations in the coming years. The EV batteries usually contain lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese.
The number of EVs across the world is expected to rise from 3mn units to 123mn units by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.