Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro ASA announced last week its plans to expand a program of directly recycling aluminium from its plants, which it hopes will further reduce its low carbon footprint and increase production by allowing for use of post-consumer aluminium scrap as well.
The initiative would enhance its already low carbon per unit rate, which it has accomplished in part via hydropower’s widespread use at its plants. About 1.2 million metric tons per annum of its 2 million metric tons per annum aluminium smelting capacity is power generated by renewable resources.
“We are currently piloting this innovative solution at our Høyanger plant. Following this verification, we aspire to apply this approach across our Norwegian smelters – with an initial ambition of adding 10 percent to our total primary production in Norway through post-consumer scrap,” noted Norsk Hydro’s Head of Primary Production in Hydro Aluminium Ola Sæter in a related press release.
“This would enable us to offer our most climate-conscious customers a new and improved alternative in their sustainability efforts.”
Hydro notes that its average carbon dioxide emissions are about 25 percent of the global industrial average. Adding the ability to recycle post-consumer aluminium scrap into its feedstock will only make that number fall, the firm predicted.
“In Norway we do have the competence, skills and deep technological understanding necessary to be a leader within our global industry, driving the development of circular solutions for the circular economy and combining profitability and sustainability,” Sæter concluded.
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.