Norway’s aluminium titan Norsk Hydro ASA said this week that it has invested NOK3 billion (US$306 million) in five of its aluminium smelters to date, with plans in the coming years to continue such investments.
The firm said in the past two years it has made substantial green investments in Karmøy, Husnes, Høyanger, Årdal, and Sunndal. Such investments have been done with the aim of boosting Hydro into the top tier of global low-carbon aluminium producers.
Ola Sæter, Head of Primary Production at Hydro, elaborated upon the firm’s green investments in a press release.
“We are upgrading the plants, investing in the development of the plants, and implementing new technology such as recycling, carbon capture and green hydrogen with the goal of becoming the world’s first supplier of zero-carbon aluminium. We recently entered into an agreement with Mercedes Benz for a technology collaboration, and to supply our aluminium products to support their investment in making lighter, more climate friendly electric cars.”
“We have a lot of activity at all our Norwegian aluminium plants and there is an exciting development of new aluminium products. It increases our flexibility to deal with challenging markets and increased demands for quality and a low-carbon footprint from customers,” Sæter continued.
Hydro said the leaner aluminium market has given it the opportunity to train its workforce as well, including implementing a management development program, an industrial vocational school, training in the prevention of CO2 emissions, training on various types of vehicles, and training in new work tasks.
“Although the current aluminium market is challenging and we are entering 2023 with high inventories, we are confident that the long term development of the aluminium market will be positive. The world needs more aluminium, especially low-carbon aluminium, which we can produce. Demand for low-carbon aluminium is increasing by 20 percent annually, compared to three percent annual growth for aluminium overall. Norway, therefore, has the best conditions for us to continue to be the most important aluminium supplier in Europe. The competition is fierce and we must continue to develop the Norwegian primary aluminium plants.”
“We believe that Norway, with its political system, large natural resources and highly competent workforce, gives us a good starting point for developing tomorrow’s materials and industrial processes,” Sæter opined.
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.