Norsk Hydro Smelts First Recycled Aluminium Using Carbon-Free Hydrogen

Norsk Hydro Smelts First Recycled Aluminium Using Carbon-Free Hydrogen

Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro ASA announced this week the smelting of the first batch of recycled aluminium using green hydrogen in history.

The test, which was carried out at Hydro’s plant in Navarra, Spain, utilized carbon-free green hydrogen instead of natural gas to power the experiment. Hydro Havrand partnered with industrial engineering group Fives to design and conduct the test.

Paul Warton, Executive Vice President for Hydro Extrusions said in a press release that his firm is highly encouraged at the positive results.

“We are excited to be conducting this test and it demonstrates Hydro’s commitment to decarbonization. By removing the carbon emissions from the energy source, we will be able to produce carbon-free aluminium from recycling post-consumer scrap.”

The test at Navarra this week is the first such test at an industrial scale. Hydro says the test offered valuable data regarding switching from natural gas to hydrogen. Hydro Havrand will continue building out infrastructure for converting its operations to hydrogen, while Hydro and Fives analyze the data and prepare a report due out in the fall.

Per Christian Eriksen, Head of Hydro Havrand, said that the test is the first of a longer process aimed at sustainability.

“This test is part of developing commercial fuel switch solutions and to demonstrate that hydrogen can be used in aluminium production. Green hydrogen can remove hard to abate emissions from fossil fuels, in processes where electricity is not an alternative, both in the aluminium industry and in other heavy industries.”

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.