A new solution from Northern Finland's clean energy company-Fortum, enables more than 80% of electric vehicle (EV) batteries to be recycled, allowing rare metals to re-enter the cycle and address sustainability by reducing the extraction of cobalt, nickel and other rare materials’ gap. At present, the recovery rate of lithium ion batteries is about 50%. “Recycling most of the materials in lithium-ion batteries, there are few economically viable technologies available today. We have seen an unresolved challenge and developed a scalable recycling solution for all industries that use batteries.”
Fortum uses a low carbon dioxide hydrometallurgical recovery process with a recovery rate of 80%. First, these batteries are safe and can be mechanically treated. Plastics, aluminum and copper are separated and used directly in their own recycling process. The hydrometallurgical recovery process allows the recovery of cobalt, lithium, manganese and nickel from the battery and delivers it to the battery manufacturer for the production of new batteries. The technology was developed by the Finnish growth company Crisolteq, which has a hydrometallurgical recycling facility in Harjavalta, Finland, which has been able to operate on an industrial scale.
“A circular economy in the strict sense refers to the recycling of a certain element to its original function or purpose. When we discuss the recycling of lithium-ion batteries,our ultimate goal is to recycle most of the components of the battery into new batteries. People in the industry said that for battery recycling, it should not be regarded as the terminal of the industrial chain, but should be regarded as the source, because the materials in the battery, especially heavy metals, have great value and can be recycled and reproduced. At the same time, Fortum is still experimenting with the current hot topic - battery "ladder utilization", which is used in fixed energy storage applications after the electric vehicle battery is no longer suitable for the original use.
According to the International Energy Agency's forecast, the number of electric vehicles on the global road will increase from 3 million to 125 million by 2030. In 2015, the global lithium-ion battery recycling market was worth about 1.7 million euros, but it is expected to reach more than 20 billion euros in the next few years.