Fossil energies in the foundry and in anode production in the aluminum plant can be replaced by biofuel. This reduces emissions by 20,000 tons of CO2 per year. Hydro's aluminum plant in Sunndal, Norway will use local, sustainable bio-resources to replace fossil fuels and reduce emissions from the production process.
“Since 1990 we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Norway by 55 percent. Now we are taking another step towards zero emissions. Replacing fossil fuels with biological resources opens up new opportunities for decarbonization in our aluminum plants,” explains Ola Sæter, head of Hydro's primary aluminum plants.
Hydro has signed a memorandum of understanding with Havila to purchase biomethane from local plants. The agreement is conditional on Havila receiving support to build a biomethane plant.
“This is a very exciting project. Working with Havila allows us to use local, sustainable bio-resources to replace fossil fuels and reduce emissions from our production. When the biomethane plant is completed, Hydro Sunndal can start introducing biomethane in 2024,” says Sæter.
Biomethane instead of natural gas
70 percent of the natural gas used in the smelter will be replaced by biomethane if Hydro Sunndal's plans work out. This will be an important step for the aluminum plant as lessons learned from the project can be transferred to Hydro's other aluminum plants.
“We supply aluminum to the most demanding customers in Europe. They prefer aluminum from Hydro, which is produced in Norway using renewable energy and with 75 percent less CO2 emissions than the industry average. At the same time, they expect us to remove every last bit of CO2 emissions from our production processes. It's a challenge we take seriously and a goal we're working hard to achieve,” explains Sæter.
Low carbon aluminum
Over the past year, Hydro has made low-carbon aluminum from recycled aluminum for the first time, used green hydrogen in aluminum remelting and started carbon capture tests at Sunndal. Hydro is also preparing to build a test facility for a new process technology for the aluminum industry. The use of biomethane is an important step in the decarbonisation of the Sunndal foundry. The foundry has a capacity of over 500,000 tonnes of finished products.
In the coming years, Hydro will make significant investments in key technological advances such as carbon capture and storage. Industrial-scale carbon-free aluminum production is to be tested from 2030 onwards.
“We have big ambitions in Norway. With a predictable environment, we have the confidence to make decisions about major investments that will take us further towards zero emissions over the next ten years,” said Sæter.