The full compliment of 60 electrolysis cells are now online at Norsk Hydro A.S.A.’s Karmøy technology pilot. Hydro made the announcement yesterday, noting that the NOK4.3 billion site will provide a launch pad for the firm’s development of high-efficiency, low-pollution electrolysis of aluminium.
At Karmøy the firm is testing a method for smelting primary aluminium that is expected to have the lowest CO2 footprint as well as using up to 15 percent less energy than the global average for aluminium production.
Equipment at the site consists of four dozen cells utilizing 12.3 kWh/Kg HAL4e technology, plus another dozen cells operating with 11.5-11.8 kWh/kg HAL4e Ultra technology. All 60 cells utilize less energy than both the global average of 14.1 kWh/kg aluminium and the company’s own average of 13.8 kWh/kg aluminium.
Per the firm, the process of starting up the cells at Karmøy began in January, with the final cell coming online yesterday. Production at individual cells ramped up slowly in order to allow for the precise tuning of equipment and handling attendant magnetic fields.
Hydro president and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg greeted the move as aiding the firm’s journey to become a worldwide leader in aluminium production technology.
“Our aim is to be the global leader in technology and innovation in our industry, and the Karmøy pilot helps advance that ambition and ensures that the Norwegian technology cluster remains the global leader in sustainable aluminium production.”
Hydro’s Primary Metal business president Hilde Merete Aasheim opined that her company is looking forward to scaling up the technology developed at the site.
“The safe and successful start-up of the technology plant is a great achievement for the organization, and very promising for the next phase – running the pilot at full-scale to verify this technology.”
Norsk Hydro, which was founded in 1905, financed by the Swedish Wallenberg family and French banks, began its life named Norsk hydro-elektrisk Kvælstofaktieselskab (literally, “Norwegian hydro-electric nitrogen limited”) by Sam Eyde. The Norwegian government owns approximately 40% of the company at the present time. Norsk Hydro is one of the largest aluminium companies in the world, with plants in Rjukan, Raufoss, Vennesla, Karmøy, Høyanger, Årdal, Sunndalsøra, and Holmestrand. Norsk also has several plants abroad, including in Germany and Brazil.