Atlanta’s rolled aluminium firm Novelis Inc. celebrated the first full year of operation of its research and development laboratory Net Zero Lab Valais, where it has worked towards scope 1 and 2 carbon neutral production projects for the aluminium industry.
The plant’s inaugural year has seen approval for investment in a new electrical pusher furnace that is designed to preheat aluminium sheet ingot using electricity derived from renewable resources. The design is estimated to save up to 4,500 metric tons of CO2 equivalent each year.
Another major project undertaken by Net Zero Lab is a method for transferring waste heat from the aluminium casting process at Novelis’ casting plant to nearby building complex Technopôle. The heat transferred is expected to translate to about 200 KW, or around a third of the building’s total energy needs. Novelis intends to partner with local energy provider OIKEN to scale up the project to meet the area’s power demands.
Emilio Braghi, Executive Vice President, Novelis Inc., and President, Novelis Europe said in a press release that the lab continues to carry out important work.
“This lighthouse project brings to life our holistic decarbonization approach toward a net zero production. Additionally, it makes us very proud to see that beyond this important mission, we are also adding value to our surrounding communities and further expanding our position as a sustainability frontrunner and attractive employer.”
Serge Gaudin, Plant Manager, Novelis Sierre, and Director, Automotive Operations, Novelis Europe, noted the significant progress made by the lab to date.
“Three decarbonization projects by the Net Zero Lab Valais were rewarded with funds by the Swiss government, which allowed us to expand the size of the team. It’s amazing to see the extraordinary results of this interdisciplinary, talented team and to know that this is just the beginning of our journey.”
Ultimately Novelis hopes to create and model an optimized system for sourcing, converting, and reusing the plant’s energy, with the ultimate goal of weaning it from fossil fuels. The firm says that the initial model and results will be released this spring.
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$17.1 billion in net sales for the most recent fiscal year.