ABB expands partnership with Northvolt to electrify the world’s largest battery recycling facility

Posted on 18 Aug 2023 by The Manufacturer

ABB and Northvolt are further strengthening their long-standing collaboration in the field of green batteries, an increasingly critical part in the ongoing energy transition.

Since 2017, ABB has already delivered key electrification and automation equipment to power Northvolt Ett gigafactory for lithium-ion batteries in Sweden. This partnership is now being expanded to include battery recycling with ABB providing process electrification to power the world’s largest battery recycling facility, Revolt Ett, being established by Northvolt in Skellefteå, northern Sweden. Financial details were not disclosed. The order was booked in the first quarter of 2023.

Revolt Ett, the recycling site, will ultimately process 125,000 tons of end-of-life batteries and battery production waste each year – making it the largest plant of its kind in the world. It will service Northvolt’s gigafactory on the same site, which brought one production block online in 2022 and will establish others to reach an annual production capacity of 60 GWh.

Northvolt supplies a range of lithium-ion batteries to the automotive, industrial, and large-scale energy storage sectors that support the global energy transition. The producer aligns with World Economic Forum figures which show the demand for batteries is expected to increase 14-fold by 2030 due to the adoption of electric vehicles.

ABB will deliver switchgears and variable speed drives to the 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.

The facility is a key part of Northvolt’s sustainability ambitions and will start operations in 2023. The company plans to reduce the carbon footprint of its batteries to 10 kg CO₂e per kilowatt hour (kWh) by 2030, compared to an industry reference of 98 kg CO₂e per kilowatt hour (kWh). Key to achieving this target, Northvolt Ett is powered by 100 per cent fossil-free energy.

“Batteries are a critical technology within the energy transition,” said 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.”

As increasing numbers of batteries in the market reach end of life, recycling via Revolt Ett’s battery materials recovery and hydrometallurgical (hydromet) processes is set to supply up to 50 per cent of Northvolt Ett’s raw material needs for lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese by 2030. By that point in time, Northvolt aims to have the capacity to manufacture 150 GWh per annum across its operations in Sweden and Germany.

“This is ABB’s first order within the strategically important battery recycling segment,” said 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.”

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