Hydro sandal, works | Hydro invests in Norway's future

Hydro sandal, works |  Hydro invests in Norway's future

In a press release on Monday, Hydro wrote about how the company is preparing its Norwegian aluminum businesses Karmøy, Husnes, Årdal, Høyanger and Sunndal for the future and green transition by investing in new technology and improved infrastructure. At the same time, the European Union has identified aluminum as a critical raw material.

– Good political framework conditions, renewable energy, access to local expertise and highly qualified labor are what make the aluminum industry a good shop in Norway. With this in mind, we are investing heavily in developing tomorrow's materials and industrial processes. It ensures continued operation in the coming years and stable delivery of the products Europe needs,” says Johan Berg, Hydro's head of aluminum production in Norway.

The green shift has local ripple effects

Through the use of renewable energy and efficient production processes, Hydro is today able to provide primary aluminum with a documented carbon footprint of less than four kilograms of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of aluminium, less than a quarter of the global average. In this way, local expertise enables customers, such as Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, to reduce emissions in the value chain and achieve their climate goals.

Demand for aluminum with a lower CO2 footprint is growing in line with climate reduction demands, as a result of stricter regulations and increased climate awareness among consumers. Therefore, Hydro is investing in developing new technology and modernizing the infrastructure in the five aluminum factories. This has significant ripple effects in local communities.

The connection between industry and local communities is what distinguishes Hydro from many companies. When we develop the business for the future, it is done in close cooperation with local players in proud industrial municipalities. For example, Hydro Årdal purchased goods and services worth more than NOK 250 million from local suppliers in 2023, Berg says in the press release.

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Recycling is the quickest way to get to zero

Increasing the recycling of used aluminum is the technology that will most rapidly contribute to reducing emissions today. Hydro is therefore investing heavily in increasing global recycling capacity. In Hoyanger, Hydro has built a new recycling center with the capacity to handle 36,000 tons of used aluminum per year, the first of its kind in Norway. The NOK 240 million investment has created 21 new local jobs and will contribute to Høyanger remaining a vibrant and active local community for many years.

Hydro has also invested NOK 100 million in recycling technology at the foundry located at Hydro Årdal. By mixing used aluminum scrap with liquid primary aluminum resulting from electrolysis, the plant achieves a record low carbon footprint of less than three kg of CO2 equivalent per kg of aluminium. The mineral in Årdal is an important element in Hydro's cooperation with leading European car manufacturers.

Carbon removal from foundries

Manufacturing aluminum from scratch is an energy-intensive process, which is done in Norway using hydroelectric power as the energy source. Recycling aluminum requires only five percent of the energy used to make new aluminum through electrolysis, but remelting requires such high temperatures that it is difficult to achieve without fossil energy. Therefore, Hydro is working to develop a new technology that will replace natural gas with renewable energy sources in foundries.

At Hydro Sunndal, Europe's largest and most modern aluminum plant, experiments will be carried out using plasma burners to electrify the smelting process.

I entered the Innova with a relative 40 million to support the project Which could have an impact on emissions-intensive industry around the world.

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Hydro Sunndal also plans to replace 70 percent of the natural gas used at the plant with biomethane, which it has succeeded in doing. You have entered into a contract with a local supplier To reduce 20 thousand tons of carbon dioxide from annual emissions.

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Further development for further operation

Maintaining and upgrading infrastructure is essential when Hydro's five aluminum plants in Norway are ready for the coming years.

In 2017, Hydro decided to invest NOK 1.5 billion in technology development for 200 electrolysis cells in the B-hallen in Husnes. Since completion and commissioning in 2021, Hydro has also decided to realize the full technological potential of electrolysis at Husnes and invest in upgrading the furnaces in Hall A to the same standard. This will reduce energy consumption at the plant in Kvenherad by about 30 GWh per year, equivalent to the consumption of about 1,200 homes.

To facilitate growth, Hydro is upgrading the business's energy supply to be able to handle the increasing energy demand of the future. In Sindal, Hydro is investing a total of NOK 850 million in the modernization programme, the main part of which consists of upgrading the high-voltage system and the rectifier. The roadmap for Erdal's electricity supply also requires significant investments over the next five years.

In parallel, Hydro is working on several paths to reduce emissions in aluminum production to zero by 2050. This includes enhancing recycling and carbon capture capacity. The most ambitious project is the development of HalZero, an entirely new production process that will make primary aluminum production completely emissions-free by eliminating CO2 emissions from both electrolysis and anode baking. The ambition is to produce the first test quantities of aluminum by 2025 and pilot volumes on an industrial scale by 2030 in preparation for large-scale production.

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Ensures value creation and employment in the coming years

In addition to investing in infrastructure, Hydro is investing in skills development among its employees. Hydro Husnes and Hydro Karmøy took advantage of a period of weak market and low production to comprehensively improve skills. It includes a management development programme, an industrial vocational school, training on CO2 emissions prevention, different types of vehicles and introduction to new work tasks.

Norway currently produces more than 40% of all new aluminum in the EU and EEA, and this share has increased in recent years in parallel with the fact that parts of production in Europe have been shut down due to rising energy prices at a turbulent time.

– Although the current picture in the aluminum market is difficult, we are confident that the development will be positive in the long term, because the need for low-carbon aluminum is increasing. Norway has the best conditions to enable us to continue to be the most important aluminum supplier in Europe, and this motivates us to develop the Norwegian aluminum business further. “We will contribute to employment and value creation in active and vibrant local communities in the coming decades, while at the same time making important contributions to the green transition and ensuring access to materials in Europe at a turbulent time,” says Berg.

Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

"Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst."

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