BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany, has signed a cooperation agreement with Fortum, a leading clean energy company located in Harjavalta, Finland, and Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), a diversified mining and metallurgical company based in Moscow, Russia, to develop a battery recycling cluster in Harjavalta which will serve the electric vehicle market. It is believed that the cluster will enable a successful ‘closed-loop cycle to re-use the critical metals present in used batteries.
Using metals from recycled batteries to produce battery materials offers significant CO2 reductions in the production of electric vehicles. Additional CO2 reductions can be achieved by using electricity from renewable sources in Finland for the recycling process.
BASF intends to use recycled materials from the processes developed by the companies within this cooperation in its planned battery materials precursor plant in Harjavalta, Finland, which was established in 2018. The parties aim to foster the production and use of responsibly produced recycled raw materials in the battery market.
“By recycling valuable metals in lithium-ion batteries we reduce the environmental impact of electric car batteries by complementing the supply of cobalt, nickel and other critical metals from primary sources,” stated Tero Holländer, Head of Business Development, Fortum Recycling and Waste. “Through our previous acquisition of a Finnish growth company Crisolteq, an expert in low CO2 hydrometallurgical processing, we are very proud that Fortum is now able to increase the recovery rate of valuable materials in lithium-ion batteries from 50% to over 80%.”
Tim Ingle, Vice President, Precious Metals Refining, Chemicals & Battery Recycling, at BASF, stated, “The combination of battery materials production and recycling enables the circular economy by closing the loop. To drive electrification, we are focused on bringing solutions for high energy density cathode active materials and high-efficiency lithium extraction for battery recycling.”
Joni Hautojärvi, Managing Director, Nornickel Harjavalta, explained, “A modern recycling unit next to Nornickel Harjavalta would further strengthen its position as one of the most sustainable nickel refineries in the world. This setup is ideal for sustainable processing of two of the main metals used in Li-ion batteries. Development of recycling solutions will not only support Nornickel’s strategy of further lowering its CO2 footprint and improving sustainability, but it is also essential to enable the industry to meet the growing demand of critical metals in the electric vehicle sector.”