Northvolt and EMR open battery recycling plant in Hamburg

Raw materials from electric car batteries to be recycled in Billbrook plant
30 August 2023
Bürgermeister Tschentscher bei der Eröffnung der Batterierecycling-Anlage

The Swedish lithium-ion battery manufacturer Northvolt and the Hamburg-based metal recycler European Metal Recycling (EMR) opened Thursday (August 24, 2023) a new recycling plant for electric car batteries in Hamburg-Billbrook. Around 10,000 tons of battery packs are to be dismantled every year in the new factory. The raw materials will then be processed and fed back into the production cycle. Recycling batteries is becoming increasingly important given the growing number of electrically-powered cars.

Less reliant on rare and expensive raw materials

"Hamburg's first recycling plant for e-vehicle batteries is emerging in Billbrook," said Peter Tschentscher, Mayor of Hamburg. The factory is important for the future of e-mobility in Germany, he said. "Recycling saves raw materials and protects the environment. This gives the German automotive industry a better perspective for the future. It becomes less dependent on the import of rare and expensive raw materials and makes progress in terms of the circular economy." The ability to effectively recycle batteries is crucial to achieving the "electric vehicle revolution", according to Emma Nehrenheim, Northvolt's Chief Environmental Officer. Large volumes of European batteries can be recycled in Hamburg and this helps set up a circular battery industry. Northvolt announced plans in May to build a gigafactory for battery cells in Heide backed by the state of Schleswig-Holstein and pending the approval of EU funding. The new factory would create around 3,000 jobs across the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.

More advantages to battery recycling than raw material extraction

Northvolt is managing the process planning in Billbrook and has developed a means of unloading and dismantling batteries while EMR is operating the plant. The Hamburg-based company has vast experience in recycling copper and aluminum and extracting raw materials on site. They can be reused to produce battery frames for the next generation of e-vehicles. The remaining battery modules are recycled in Northvolt's other factories. Recycling the batteries has more economic benefits and environment-friendlier than extracting raw material extraction through mining, EMR said. Northvolt is supplying traction batteries in Billbrook with battery packs and modules purchased all over Europe. Both discarded battery packs, and recalled ones can be recycled.