Chemistry for sustainable battery recycling

The global market for batteries is growing fast, largely due to rising demand for electric vehicles. But can production keep up and what happens after batteries are used? Fortum Battery Recycling, a business line part of the energy company, is setting up a sustainable recycling process with help from Kemira and our chemistry.
Image of an electric car being charged.

Many of the world’s leading automakers are transitioning to plug-in electric vehicles. Other industries are also ditching combustion in favor of more climate-friendly, electrical power sources. This trend toward electrification is driving huge growth in demand for lithium-ion batteries.

But experts believe lithium mining is unlikely to keep pace. That’s where our customer, Fortum Battery Recycling, comes in. A Finnish energy company with a global presence, Fortum has a 80-person team working on battery recycling in Finland and Germany. Its unique solution captures over 95% of the most valuable metals from the black mass in spent batteries, including lithium and graphite, so those metals can be used once more to power transportation and industry.

Kemira supports companies such as Fortum to meet their sustainability goals such as reduction of CO2 footprint and increased recovery rates. Sustainable recycling is at the heart of a more circular economy and better everyday for society.

Kemira’s contribution to battery recycling

Recycling End of Life (EoL) batteries and managing the waste from battery production requires deep knowledge of chemical processing, organic materials and non-organic materials. Purity is also essential.

Through Kemira, Fortum has access to high quality chemistry, as well as extensive chemistry expertise. As a result, they can extract more value from their lithium recovery processes. This efficiency in its turn contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 for responsible consumption and production.

“Kemira is a world class chemical company. We highly appreciate its long history and the commitment to developing new solutions for the industry,” said Tero Holländer, head of Fortum’s batteries business line.

Maria Luhtala, the Kemira area sales manager who works with Fortum, added, “We’re offering three very important things: quality chemistry, local production, and reliability.” She also noted that Kemira’s collaboration with Fortum goes beyond chemistry. In fact, the companies are neighbors.

Kemira is a world class chemical company. We highly appreciate its long history and the commitment to developing new solutions for the industry.

A planet-friendly partnership

Fortum has been operating on our site in the Finnish city of Harjavalta for many years. “Kemira has been crucial for our early-stage development. They offered us space to construct and operate our pilot unit,” Tero explained.

Now, a larger Fortum facility as Fortum Battery Recycling opened in May Europe’s largest closed-loop hydrometallurgical battery recycling facility in Harjavalta, Finland. In March, Fortum Battery Recycling started its first commercial operations in Kirchardt, Germany. The company is aiming to invest in a second mechanical processing plant in continental Europe in the near term.

Co-occupying the site in Harjavalta adds another nice benefit. “The joint use of space and utilities creates cost efficiency and energy savings, reducing our overall carbon footprint,” Tero said. In this sense, Kemira’s partnership with Fortum also supports SDG 13 for climate action.

Tero concluded, “I think we share many values. We want to help our customers to improve their production and make their products more sustainable. Success is a team sport. We want our partners to join the change and make a difference by rethinking recycling!”

To learn more about partnering with Kemira, email

Contact us

Looking for advice?

Our experts will help you find the best solution to suit your water treatment plant’s specific needs.

Stay up-to-date

Subscribe to our Insights

Want to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry? Subscribe to get our Insights straight to your inbox.