Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Solution

We are able to recycle over 80% of lithium-ion battery materials. Our industrial-scale, low-CO2 process allows us to recover lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel from the battery for reuse in producing new batteries.

To achieve a high recycling rate of 80% with a low-CO2 we use hydrometallurgical recycling process. The lithium-ion batteries are first made safe for mechanical treatment, with plastics, aluminium and copper separated and directed to their own recycling processes. And what is left of the battery after these processes are the chemical and mineral components, the ‘black mass’ and in our facility in Harjavalta the ‘black mass’ can be treated on an industrial scale.

The black mass typically consists of a mixture of lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel in different ratios. Of these, nickel, cobalt and lithium are the most valuable and most difficult to recover. Most of today’s recycling solutions for EV batteries are not able to recover these valuable minerals.

The hydrometallurgical recycling process involves a chemical precipitation methodology that allows scarce minerals to be recovered and delivered to battery manufacturers for reuse in the production of new batteries. This technology was developed by the Finnish growth company CrisolteQ that was acquired by Fortum in January 2020.

Industrial-scale hydrometallurgical recycling facility

Most of today’s recycling solutions for EV batteries are not able to recover scarce metals. We have a hydrometallurgical recycling facility in Harjavalta, Finland, where the black mass can be treated on an industrial scale.

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Unboxing the lithium-ion battery

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Fortum solves a major EV sustainability issue

According to one forecast by the International Energy Agency, the number of electric vehicles on the world’s roads will increase from 3 million to 125 million by 2030. Batteries powering electric vehicles consume huge amounts of plastics, metals and rare minerals. The current EU regulation on the recycling rate for batteries is only 50% of the total weight of the battery. That is not enough to capture the valuable materials in the batteries.

If the IEA’s EV forecast holds true, it would mean an 800% increase in the demand for nickel and manganese and a 150% increase in the demand for cobalt for the production of new batteries. These scarce minerals, mined from very few locations, would increase the greenhouse gas emissions from their production by 500%. Using recycled materials also reduces the CO2 emissions from production up to 90%.

Limited availability and the environmental impacts of mining mean that recycling these scarce elements back to battery manufacturing is key to reducing the environmental impacts of battery use throughout the life cycle.

Recycling of lithium-ion battery materials is the key for growth in electric transportation

In the future, battery components will not be sourced solely from mining; they will have to come from recycling and from applications utilising industrial side streams. The ability to recover these materials will drive the increase in electric vehicles.

Interested? Contact our battery experts!

Jaakko Savolainen

Commercial Director, Business Line Batteries
Tel: +358 40 501 48 36


Tero Holländer

Head of Business Line Batteries
Tel: +358 40 861 5071

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Fortum Battery Solutions

Renewing the value chain for lithium-ion batteries and extending the life cycle of batteries.

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