Revolutionizing Aluminum Production: Hydro's Plasma Pursuit

Hydro Sunndal
Hydro SunndalImage Source: Hydro

Synopsis:

Hydro, a key player in the aluminium industry, is pioneering emission-free plasma technology in its Sunndal casthouse, aiming for zero CO2 emissions. Securing soft funding from the Norwegian Government, the project has global implications, particularly for hard-to-abate industries. The innovative plasma technology, set to electrify the re-melting process using renewable energy, could transform not only the aluminium sector but also influence other emissions-intensive industries globally.

Article

In a groundbreaking move towards sustainable aluminium production, Hydro is embarking on a journey to test emission-free plasma technology in its Sunndal casthouse. With a vision to achieve zero CO2 emissions, Hydro's project has received soft funding from the Norwegian Government, marking a significant step in decarbonizing hard-to-abate industries.

The traditional process of re-melting aluminium into new products involves energy-intensive procedures, often reliant on fossil energy like natural gas. Hydro's plasma technology seeks to revolutionize this by enabling the electrification of the process, utilizing the same renewable energy that powers its primary smelters.

Eivind Kallevik, Executive Vice President for Hydro Aluminium Metal, expresses the ambitious goal, stating, "Plasma technology is both high tech and future-oriented. If we succeed with the pilot project at Sunndal, it will not only affect the aluminium industry but also other hard-to-abate industries worldwide."

The pilot project at Sunndal aims to melt the first aluminium with near-zero emissions by the fourth quarter of 2025. Anticipated to reduce carbon emissions by over 500 metric tons annually, the global potential impact on emissions from aluminium casthouses and recyclers is estimated at about 11 million tonnes of CO2. Enova, supported by the Norwegian Government, has granted NOK 39.6 million to bolster this transformative initiative.

Hydro's broader ambition aligns with its goal to achieve zero emissions throughout the entire aluminium value chain by 2050. Hydro Sunndal, recognized as Europe's largest and most modern aluminium plant, serves as a test site for carbon emissions capture from existing electrolysis. Furthermore, Hydro is investing in a Porsgrunn test facility for HalZero, a novel technology set to eliminate carbon emissions from both electrolysis and anode baking in primary aluminium production.

Eivind Kallevik highlights the collaborative effort with demanding customers, stating, "We are working closely with Europe’s most demanding customers to help them achieve their climate ambitions through the use of low-carbon and recycled aluminium."

Conclusion:

Hydro's pursuit of plasma technology represents a pivotal moment in the quest for sustainable aluminium production. With the potential to reshape not only the aluminium industry but also influence global hard-to-abate sectors, this initiative underscores Hydro's commitment to pioneering innovative solutions that align with environmental sustainability. As the pilot project progresses, it holds the promise of significant emissions reduction, paving the way for a more sustainable future in industrial practices.

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