Nordics

Denmark

The Danish regulation on battery collection is similar to the EU Directive. The Producer Responsibility legislation is supervised by the national authority, the Danish Product Responsibility System (DPA-System) [1]. The two companies responsible for battery collection, including Li-ion, are El Retur A/S and ERP. EnergyLab Nordhavn, a collaboration project between companies, universities and the city of Copenhagen is conducting city wide research to demonstrate the implementation of new energy technologies, which includes looking into reuse (second life) to balance the electric grid [2]. Several studies into battery technologies are being conducted at DTU and Aarhus Universitet. These are, however, mainly focused on the chemical composition[3], applications and properties of batteries, rather than the circularity [4]. The Danish Battery Symposium is held every year, since 2013, to share knowledge between the active market players in the country.

Finland 

The Finnish regulation is adapted directly from the EU Directive with no major changes. The Producer Responsibility legislation is supervised by the national authority [4]. Finland has many small companies focusing on specific tasks within the battery industry; however many find it difficult to join the industry’s ecosystem [5]. The global battery market is dominated by companies with large balance sheets and a lot of capital. Despite numerous efforts from the government to attract large battery manufacturers to Finland, there has been no public announcement from the main global battery players as of this writing. The country’s high latitude, the high level of requirements in the permitting process and the relatively long distance from the automotive industry might be some of the reasons [6].

As one of the only countries in Europe with a significant occurrence of cobalt (a metal commonly used in the cathode of Li-ion batteries) as a natural resource, Finland is attempting to leverage its expertise in mining, processing and hydrometallurgy to develop market solutions for the entire battery value chain, from mining to production and finally recycling of battery materials. There is currently a strong push for Finnish companies to connect and engage with foregin actors to build a strong battery network. Their competencies in mining and processing for heavy duty technologies, combined with the cheap clean electricity and strong innovation environment are a strong breeding ground for the battery industry in Finland. The battery recycling company Akkuser Oy receives end of life batteries from several countries in Europe such as Sweden, Norway, Spain, Denmark and Austria. The company recycles and processes hazardous materials from Li-ion in a crushing process, sending the cobalt to refineries in Kokkola, where the mining industry is located [7]. Other recycling companies, such as Crisolteq and Aurubis, recycle batteries through a hydrometallurgical process that treats the black mass (a mix of materials and chemical elements) on industrial scale [8]. There are also companies, such as European Batteries Oy and Valmet Automotive, planning to build  large scale battery manufacturing plants. Finally, the Finnish BATCircle consortium, which involves universities, companies and government entities alike, is performing research on different technologies for the battery industry, including the advancement of safety standards and testing methodologies [9]. 

 

Sweden

The government of Sweden has proactively tried to draw investors and companies to the national battery industry. The country has allocated over 60 million euros to Batterifonden, a fund for battery research projects [10] primarily focused on collection and recycling. 

Northvolt AB, a Swedish battery manufacturer, is planning to start production at its 16 GWh gigafactory by 2021, aiming to scale up to 32 GWh a year by 2023. The company intends to also adopt recycling practices by setting up their own recycling facility for Li-ion batteries. This is part of their slogan to ‘“build the world’s greenest battery” by using recycled metals as part of the factory’s input materials and utilizing the electricity from hydropower plants in northern Sweden.

Companies collecting Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) require special permission from the Swedish Environment Protection Agency. However, batteries are not categorized as WEEE, and thus do not require such permission. The battery directive based their definitions on the 2006 EU Directive. Based on a report issued by the Swedish government, the portable Li-ion battery collection rate is only 8%. The main reason is that most portable batteries are embedded inside WEEE, making its extraction laborious. Therefore, it is usually easier to export the batteries together with WEEE to countries in Asia, such as China and South Korea, for recycling [5]. 

Despite the still low volume, electric vehicle Li-ion batteries are currently collected, discharged, dismantled, and pre-treated by El-Kresten, a Swedish non-profit and one of the two main WEEE collection companies in Sweden. Stena Recycling AB, another WEEE collector, is also looking into Li-ion battery recycling; however, it is still unclear which stage of the process the company will focus on. Many private companies are evaluating the opportunities for reusing end of life batteries. A research project on reuse and recycling is currently being conducted by Luleå University, KTH and Chalmers University[11].

 

Norway

Despite not being an EU Member State, Norway’s strong push for the electrification of transport makes the country a relevant global player in the market of end-of-life batteries. The regulation of disposed batteries is based on the EEA agreement of the 2006 Battery Directive. For portable batteries, recycling companies must collect at least 30% of the total mass of battery entering the market. For lead and industrial batteries, where EV batteries are included, 95% must be collected by the collection companies [15]. 

Norway has shown strong political will to electrify the transportation sector. Starting in 2025, new busses and passenger cars running on gasoline or diesel will be phased-out. The Norwegian government provides incentives, such as tax cuts and access to a wide network of charging stations, which have contributed to a high penetration of EVs that continues to grow steadily. In 2019, 56% of the new cars sold in Norway are plug in vehicles[17], the highest share worldwide. In addition, Norway houses the world’s highest amount of hybrid/electric maritime vehicles, which include boats and ferries that utilize very high capacity batteries[12]. This is all pushed by the ambitious plan from Norway’s National Transportation which calls for 40% of ships in the short sea to be low emission by 2030 [13]. 

The main battery collection service is provided by BatteriRetur AS, which handles discharging, dismantling and second life assessment. BatteriRetur is in collaboration with the Finnish energy company Fortum, to assess the reuse the EV batteries for grid applications [14]. The large number of batteries in Norway has accelerated expansion of the collection market with more companies, such as Revac AS, Norksrisk, and ERP. 

Research in batteries and recycling processes is carried out by universities, research centers and private enterprises such as NTNU, SINTEF, University of Oslo, DNV GL, Elkem and Plan B Energy Storage. Finally, start-up Feyr AS is currently raising capital to build a 32 GWh Li-Ion battery manufacturing plant in Norway, with plans to start production by 2023.

 

Iceland

As of November 2019, Iceland's battery infrastructure contains neither manufacturing nor recycling facilities. A state owned company, SORPA, collects all the waste including WEEE and batteries [15]. However, EV batteries are categorized as hazardous and sent to Hringrás to be exported to recycling plants in Belgium, Germany and Great Britain. 



References:

[1] “Electronical waste (WEEE).” [Online]. Available: https://eng.mst.dk/air-noise-waste/waste/electronical-waste-weee-and-batteries-bat/. [Accessed: 07-Nov-2019].

[2] C. Greisen, “Annual report – Executive Summary,” DTU Electrical Engineering , Jul. 2019.

[3] “Looking inside zinc-air batteries - DTU Energy,” https://www.energy.dtu.dk. [Online]. Available: https://www.energy.dtu.dk/english/news/2019/03/looking-inside-zinc-air-batteries?id=e3906253-8564-4aa2-aae0-9b761bb22db1. [Accessed: 13-Feb-2020].

[4] “Research in Batteries,” DTU Energy. [Online]. Available: https://www.energy.dtu.dk/english/Research/Batteries.

[5] Hans Eric Melin, Circular Energy Storage, “State-of-the-art in reuse and recycling of lithium-ion batteries – A research review,” Commissioned by The Swedish Energy Agency , Jun. 2019.

[6] Business Finland, “Batteries from Finland : Final Report,” Business Finland, Jan. 2019.

[7] “Home - AkkuSer Oy,” AkkuSer Oy. [Online]. Available: https://www.akkuser.fi/en/home/. [Accessed: 07-Nov-2019].

[8] “CrisolteQ | Recovering the full potential of side-streams.” [Online]. Available: https://crisolteq.com/. [Accessed: 07-Nov-2019].

[9] “Finland-based Circular Ecosystem of Battery Metals (BATCircle).” [Online]. Available: https://www.mineralsgroup.fi/blog/finland-based-circular-ecosystem-of-battery-metals-batcircle.html. [Accessed: 07-Nov-2019].

[10] L. Eklund, “Om Batterifonden,” Naturvårdsverket, 10-Jan-2014. [Online]. Available: https://www.naturvardsverket.se/Stod-i-miljoarbetet/Bidrag/Om-Batterifonden/. [Accessed: 07-Nov-2019].

[11] “Batteries | Chalmers.” [Online]. Available: https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/research/energymaterials/imr/Pages/Batteries.aspx. [Accessed: 13-Feb-2020].

[12] “‘Someone has to go first’ - Ferry and RoRo insights - DNV GL,” Missing Label with key: Page-Annotations-sitename. [Online]. Available: https://www.dnvgl.com/expert-story/maritime-impact/Someone-has-to-go-first.html. [Accessed: 07-Nov-2019].

[13] P. Holteng, “E-Mobility in Norway,” The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Norway, Apr. 2019.

[14] “Second life for lithium-ion batteries | Fortum.” [Online]. Available: https://www.fortum.com/products-and-services/fortum-battery-solutions/recycling/second-life. [Accessed: 07-Nov-2019].

[15] “SORPA - Sort & recycle.” [Online]. Available: https://www.sorpa.is/en. [Accessed: 07-Nov-2019].

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