Norwegian aluminium smelter Norsk Hydro ASA forecasts a doubling in the sales of its low-carbon aluminium over the course of the coming year, with even greater gains beyond that. Such was the message delivered by a company executive who spoke with Reuters last week.
In an interview with the news outlet, Hydro’s Extruded Solutions head Egil Hogna said the increase in usage of its low-carbon aluminium is expected to rise despite an overall plateau in global aluminium use. For property developers in Europe and North America, the drive to lower their carbon footprint has brought them to Hydro and its Circal aluminium, which consists of at least 75 percent post-consumer scrap and produces 13 percent of the global CO2 average for aluminium smelting.
“In 2021 we forecast a sale of 40,000-50,000 tonnes of Circal, and the potential is significantly higher after that,” he explained.
Overall, Hydro uses about 80 thousand metric tons of aluminium per year in the production of façades and windows. Last year 10 thousand metric tons of Circal were used in such extrusions, which Hogna says will double during the current year.
While Circal costs between 10 and 20 percent more than standard aluminium, Hogna says that the addition of other materials and labor makes the increase only 2 to 3 percent above the usual asking price.
“But it’s the aluminium in it that makes the big difference in terms of CO2 footprint,” Hogna explained.
As Circal requires 2.3 kg of CO2 emissions per kilogram to produce, buyers have frequently looked past the increased price and opted to avoid extrusions made with standard aluminium and its average of 18 kg of CO2 emissions per kilogram.
As building tenants become more aware of the low-carbon aluminium and its availability for construction purposes, Hogna indicates that many such tenants are increasingly using the utilization of such materials when making decisions regarding location choices.
“We expect this to grow significantly in coming years – the speed will depend on how quickly authorities change standards and incentives, and how rapidly public opinion changes when it comes to paying for greener products,” explained Hogna.
“It requires only a modest change in the willingness to pay.”