Date: Mar 28, 2019

Fortum, a Finland-based clean energy and electric vehicle charging company that is involved with a plan to install wireless EV chargers for taxis in Oslo, has also created a new process that makes more than 80% of EV battery materials recyclable. In particular, it focuses on recapturing the nickel, cobalt, and other metals that are associated with environmental or humanitarian concerns. Current EU rules only require 50% of battery materials to be recycled.

In a press release, Kalle Saarimaa, vice president of Fortum Recycling and Waste, says, “There are very few working, economically viable technologies for recycling the majority of materials used in lithium-ion batteries. We saw a challenge that was not yet solved and developed a scalable recycling solution for all industries using batteries.”

To achieve a recycling rate of more than 80%, Fortum uses a low-CO2 hydro-metallurgical recycling process. First, the batteries are made safe for mechanical treatment, then the plastics, aluminium, and copper inside are separated and directed to their own recycling areas.

The chemical and mineral components of the battery form a “black mass” that is a mixture of lithium, manganese, cobalt, and nickel in different ratios. Nickel and cobalt are the most valuable, but are also the most difficult to recover. Using technology developed by Finnish company Crisolteq, Fortum uses chemical precipitation methodology that allows these minerals to be recovered and delivered to battery manufacturers for use in new batteries.

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