Hydrovolt, a joint venture between Hydro and Northvolt focused on battery recycling, secured 15.3 million NOK (~$1.43 million) from Enova, a Norwegian public enterprise that promotes low-carbon energy solutions, to develop new technology for discharging and dismantling electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The company operates one of Europe’s largest recycling facilities for EV batteries in Fredrikstad, Norway, where it recovers valuable metals such as cobalt, nickel, and lithium from used batteries. However, the current process involves manual handling of the batteries and inefficient use of their residual energy.

With Enova’s support, Hydrovolt will develop and test a new technology that automates and optimizes the discharge and dismantling process. The technology will enable the company to harness the remaining energy in the batteries and use it for operations or sell it to the grid. This is expected to reduce the need for external power sources and lower the carbon footprint of the recycling process.

“Automation is a prerequisite for achieving profitable operations as the volumes of used EV batteries will increase significantly in a few years. Additionally, we will be able to store the energy from the discharging process of the battery in battery banks and utilize it for our consumption, as well as distribute excess energy to the local power grid”, said Helge Fredheim, project lead at the discharge and dismantling (D&D) site at Øra, Fredrikstad in Hydrovolt.

According to Hydrovolt, an average of 50 kWh of residual energy is left in each battery pack that is recycled. A planned intake of 100 battery packs per day amounts to around 5 MWh per day or 1.6 GWh per year. The company estimates that using its technology could reduce CO2 emissions by about 30,000 tons per year in Europe, where the number of EV batteries to be recycled is expected to increase from 100,000 to 2 million per year in the next decade.

Hydrovolt’s facility in Fredrikstad is a key part of its business strategy, but the company is also exploring opportunities to expand its operations to other countries in Europe, where there is a growing demand for battery recycling services.

According to Mercom’s Q1 2023 Funding and M&A Report for Storage and Smart Grid, VC funding raised by Energy Storage companies in Q1 2023 came to $1.1 billion in 19 deals, an 8% decrease year-over-year (YoY) compared to $1.2 billion in 22 deals in Q1 2022.