Novelis Begins Net Zero Carbon Aluminium Research Lab In Switzerland

Novelis Begins Net Zero Carbon Aluminium Research Lab In Switzerland

Atlanta’s rolled aluminium firm Novelis announced an agreement to collaborate with Swiss innovation and research hub HES-SO Valais-Wallis in collaboration with EPFL of Energypolis Campus and energy firm OIKEN to cooperate on discovering and developing advanced carbon-neutral methods for production of aluminium

Dubbed Net Zero Lab Valais, the new project will reside at Novelis’ plant in Sierre, Switzerland. Novelis says the location is ideal due to its close proximity with renewable energy and other top research institutions.

Ultimately Novelis hopes the project will help it reach carbon neutrality for scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.

Pierre Labat, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer, Novelis Inc., said in a press release that the collaboration shows his firm’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality.

“As the industry leader and the world’s largest aluminium recycler, Novelis is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner. This partnership underscores that commitment and we expect the research to allow for greater innovation in advancing our efforts to create a sustainable world together.”

Emilio Braghi, Executive Vice President, Novelis Inc. and President, Novelis Europe, elaborated upon the aims of the partnership.

“We are working relentlessly on reducing all emissions at our sites, in our supply chain and in the energy we use. The Net Zero Lab Valais is another lever for increasing energy efficiency, reducing waste and supporting our communities. We will develop innovative solutions that we can later implement on a broader scale at our different production sites across the globe, while we simultaneously continue to work on increasing the recycled content in our products to deliver the lowest total carbon footprint for aluminium sheet. We are very proud to have such strong and experienced partners as HES-SO Valais-Wallis, EPFL and OIKEN at our side to drive carbon neutral production.”

François Seppey, Director of HES-SO Valais-Wallis said his firm was eager to begin collaboration.

“We are excited about kicking-off this laboratory for applied research activities and to find solutions for reducing CO2 emissions in the aluminium industry. The competences within our energy and environment research institute perfectly meet the challenges of this collaboration with Novelis. Not only are the employees knowledgeable and passionate about sustainability, the plant also includes all manufacturing steps in the aluminium production process and a R&D center, which will support meaningful research. This lab will be an ideal ecosystem to develop outstanding skills for early career engineers and enhance their contribution to the decarbonization of the whole industry in the near future.”

Professor François Marechal, Head of Industrial Process and Energy Systems Engineering group in EPFL, said the project is a paradigm for such collaborations.

“The Net Zero Lab Valais is a model for joining efforts between research and industry to decrease the carbon footprint of a region and understanding symbiosis between industrial activities and the energy system. The same time, it will give early career talented engineers the chance to gain valuable insights and knowledge in applied and fundamental research.”

François Fellay, CEO of OIKEN, expounded upon the importance of the project.

“The Net Zero Lab Valais is an important initiative to help decarbonize the region. In addition, by supplying waste heat into the future district heating system, Novelis’ manufacturing site will also become a major contributor to our low carbon energy system.” 

Novelis is a subsidiary of Mumbai’s Hindalco Industries Ltd. Based in Atlanta, the firm accounts for almost half of Hindalco’s consolidated revenue. The world’s largest recycler of aluminium, Novelis conducts operations in ten different countries, employs around eleven thousand people, and reported US$11.2 billion in net sales for the most recent fiscal year.