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Ribbon-cutting at Sunndal, Norway

Stories by Hydro

Ro-Ro transport coming to more Hydro aluminium plants in Norway

Hydro is rolling cargo, like aluminium products bound for customers, directly onboard and off again at the destination, saving time and money and benefiting the environment.

(Photo above, from left: Marit Brakstad, Casthouse Manager Hydro Sunndal, John Kristian Marstein from Christie & Opsahl construction, and Ole Sævild, Managing Director Sea Cargo, were on site at Hydro Sunndal recently to inaugurate the new Ro-Ro ramp.)

A new Ro-Ro ramp – Ro-Ro stands for roll on-roll off – has been officially inaugurated at Hydro Sunndal, the latest of Hydro’s primary aluminium plants in Norway to do so.

Six months after construction was started, it was finally time to start rolling aluminium products on to cargo ships – instead of loading them with cranes and the manpower to run them.

See video to learn more: 

Major milestone

“The new RoRo ramp is a major milestone in the transition going from lifting cargo by cranes, to rolling the products on cassettes onto the vessels,” said Sindre Bolseth, who worked on the project in Hydro’s Aluminium Metal Logisitics. “The ramp truly represents a significant HSE improvement, both in elimination of crane operations and better and safer working conditions for cargo-handling vehicles.

“The ramp is a result of a unique collaboration between Sea Cargo and Hydro and is the first of two ramps being constructed. The second is currently under construction in Årdal and we aim to have this in operation within November.”

Loading time cut in half

In addition to improved safety, the Ro-Ro solution is highly efficient. It cuts loading time in half, meaning that the cargo ships can reduce speed at sea and still deliver on time. This results in less fuel consumption and lower emissions.

More than 655,000 tonnes of Hydro cargo per year will be shipped over the ramp plus some external cargo. It’s the largest Ro-Ro ramp north of Bergen measured in shipped tonnage and will also be used for loading of external goods via a dedicated terminal nearby.

a few men in orange suits working on a pipe
BEFORE: Traditionally, aluminium is loaded on ships with a crane.

“The fact that we can drive onto vessels like a car ferry makes our job a lot easier – and a lot safer. Personnel are no longer exposed to hanging load, which has represented a significant safety risk,” said Sunndal Plant Manager Roar Ørsund.

Demo of "concrete of the future" – reinforced with aluminum

The Ro-Ro ramp in Sunndal is made of prefabricated elements and in-situ cast concrete reinforced with steel. In this traditional concrete construction, however, one element has been replaced with a concrete element reinforced with aluminum to demonstrate a unique innovation.

This is part of the DARE2C research project between Hydro, SINTEF, NTNU and other partners that are looking at the possibility of making an environmentally friendly concrete that can be reinforced with aluminum.

Grete Hjetland, project manager at DARE2C, explains:

“We have developed a new concrete mix where aluminum can be used as reinforcement, and this concept will be particularly suitable for use in corrosive environments. Since there seems to be a general assumption that aluminum is not strong enough to withstand heavy loads, the Ro-Ro ramp in Sunndal is for us a perfect place to demonstrate how concrete reinforced with aluminum can actually withstand heavy loads and exposure to seawater over many years.”

“To validate the design, the element has been tested in a laboratory at NTNU in Trondheim. It can take more than 1000 kilonewtons, which is equivalent to 100 tons. The construction will also lead to reduced maintenance and longer service life. The concrete mixture used in combination with aluminum gives a lower environmental footprint than "ordinary" concrete,” says Hjetland.

In addition to the Ro-Ro solution currently under construction at Hydro Årdal, Hydro's aluminium plants in Karmøy and Husnes already have similar loading solutions.

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