Li-Cycle Holdings Corp., a Toronto-based lithium-ion battery recycler, announced it has formed a joint venture with Eco Stor AS, Oslo, Norway, and Morrow Batteries AS, Arendal, Norway, in which Li-Cycle will be the majority owner. Through this partnership, Li-Cycle says it will construct a new commercial lithium-ion battery recycling facility in southern Norway—the company’s first recycling facility outside North America.
According to the Norwegian Automobile Federation, Norway has made electric vehicle (EV) adoption a priority and is on the path of phasing out sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles by April—three years ahead of the 2025 target proposed by the Norwegian government. The expectation is that this could result in a long-term supply of end-of-life batteries, and Li-Cycle says it will be well-positioned to recycle and bring the end-of-life batteries back into the lithium-ion battery supply chain.
Battery manufacturing capacity is increasing in Norway, particularly with the construction of Morrow’s large-scale battery gigafactory, which the company estimates will be operational next year and be able to supply batteries for more than 700,000 EVs annually. The manufacturing scrap generated from the facility will provide Li-Cycle with additional supply.
“This is a significant step for Li-Cycle as we deploy our proven lithium-ion battery resource recovery solution to the European market and execute on our global growth strategy with key industry partners,” says Ajay Kochhar, president, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle. “Norway’s early leadership in EV adoption and ecosystem is a beacon for electrification globally, creating a robust market for both battery manufacturing scrap and end-of-life batteries domestically.”
The Norwegian facility is expected to be fully operational early next year and have the capacity to process up to 10,000 tons of lithium-ion batteries per year, including battery manufacturing scrap, full EV packs and energy storage systems. According to a news release, the initiative brings Li-Cycle’s total expected global recycling capacity, including existing and under development, to 40,000 tons of lithium-ion battery input per year.
The announcement follows a string of investments and expansions for Li-Cycle last year. In September 2021, the company announced a $100 million investment from Koch Strategic Platforms (KSP), a subsidiary of Koch Investments Group based in Wichita, Kansas. The investment was “designed to support Li-Cycle’s growth opportunities in North America, Europe and Asia,” the company said at the time of the announcement.
Following that announcement, in December 2021, Li-Cycle said it was proceeding with construction to increase processing capacity at its commercial hub facility in Rochester, New York, by more than 40 percent, and said construction likely will be complete by next year, requiring a total capital investment of approximately $485 million. That same month it also entered into a nonbinding letter of intent with LG Chem (LGC) and LG Energy Solution (LGES) to provide the companies with 20,000 metric tons of nickel from the New York facility. Both LGC and LGES will combine for a $50 million equity investment in Li-Cycle upon completion of the commercial agreements.
In support of executing the Norway spoke facility, Koch Engineered Solutions (KES) has been engaged to construct, test and ship the modular spoke facility—and outcome of the previously announced investment by KSP.
“Advancing innovation in the battery recycling [and] recovery space adds direct long-term value to our partners and helps ensure a future sustainable battery ecosystem,” says Brian Boster, president of optimized process designs, an engineering, procurement and construction capability in KES.
Eco Stor will provide the joint venture with end-of-life lithium-ion batteries and Morrow will provide lithium-ion battery manufacturing scrap from its facilities in Norway. In turn, Li-Cycle will provide equipment, technology, technical services and operational management for the spoke facility, while having the right to acquire 100 percent of the facility’s production of black mass.A site has not yet been finalized, and construction remains subject to receipt of all necessary Norwegian regulatory approvals.