Since becoming Hydro’s CEO in May 2019, Hilde Merete Aasheim has been repeating one key message regarding the direction of the company: Lifting profitability, driving sustainability.
Hydro has followed up with back-to-back years of strong profitability and many future oriented investments aimed at improving the sustainability of its operations in the aluminium business.
"Aluminium is a key material for the green transition. Hydro expects the demand for ‘near zero’ aluminium to grow much faster than the overall market demand growth. We are investing heavily in our operations with the aim of fulfilling the ambition of aluminium production with net-zero emissions,” says Aasheim.
The company is building upon a sturdy foundation, including a 55 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions at its aluminium metal plants in Norway, while production has increased by 40 percent. The next advancements will be driven by new technology, more recycling and new investments.
In April, Hydro announced a tender offer for 100 percent of the shares of the recycling company Alumetal S.A., with a purchase price of approximately EUR 232 million. Hydro is awaiting European Commission approval of its acquisition of the Polish company, the second largest producer of cast aluminium alloys in Europe, with annual production capacity of 275,000 metric tonnes. Alumetal has three plants in Poland and one in Hungary, and is constructing a state-of-the-art sorting line.
In addition to the announced investments, here are other sustainability related highlights from Hydro’s aluminium operations over the past year:
- In February, Hydro announced it had accepted a role as a materials partner in the Polestar 0 project for the Swedish electric carmaker Polestar. The only aluminium partner in the project, Hydro will support Polestar in its goal to build a climate neutral car by 2030.
- In May, Hydro’s recycling plant in Clervaux, Luxembourg, produced 130 tonnes of aluminium made with 100 percent post-consumer scrap. This is its first commercial volumes of near-zero carbon aluminium.
- Also in May, Hydro’s recycling plant in Commerce, Texas, became the first in the USA to be certified by DNV GL to produce Hydro CIRCAL. Two months later, Hydro’s recycling plant in Henderson, Kentucky, was also certified by DNV GL to produce Hydro CIRCAL.
- In July, the part-owned aluminium plant Qatalum in Qatar was certified according to both the ASI Performance Standard and the ASI Chain of Custody (CoC) Standard for primary aluminium smelting and the manufacturing of foundry alloys and extrusion ingots.
- In August, Hydro’s extrusion plant in Spanish Fork, Utah, became the company’s first in the United States to source 100 percent of its electricity needs from renewable energy. It is Hydro’s second plant in North America to reach this milestone, joining the Pointe-Claire, Quebec site, which utilizes 100 percent hydroelectric power. Pending the completion of a new solar field in the first half of 2023, Hydro’s Cressona, Pennsylvania, facility will also source its entire electrical needs from renewable energy.
- Hydro’s wholly owned primary aluminium plants, recyclers, casthouse activities and the Brazilian joint venture Albras are all ASI certified. Hydro’s Bauxite & Alumina business area, the Paragominas bauxite mine and Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil are also ASI certified. Qatalum, jointly owned by Hydro and Qatar Aluminium Manufacturing Company, has dual ASI certification for primary aluminium smelting and the manufacturing of foundry alloys and extrusion ingots. The primary aluminium plant Aluminerie Alouette, where Hydro owns a 20 percent share, is also ASI certified. The recertification of Hydro Extrusions’ ASI Performance Standard certification has been finalized and is now valid through May 2025. It covers 47 sites and tops among extrusion companies worldwide, with more on the way.
List of sustainability-related investments in 2021 and 2022:
Click to expand
- Fuel-switch project at alumina refinery in Barcarena, Brazil. The project will replace heavy fuel oil with natural gas, thereby reducing the Alunorte refinery’s annual CO2 emissions by 700,000 mt when completed in 2023. (NOK 2.5 billion)
- Research project on bauxite waste in Brazil. The two year partnering agreement with the University of São Paulo is aimed at using bauxite residue from Hydro’s mining operations in the State of Pará in the construction industry. (NOK 4.3 million)
- Expansion of recycling facility in Rackwitz, Germany. Plant produces 95,000 mt of extrusion ingot per year. Expansion will add 25-30,000 mt and increase recycling of post-consumer scrap as a major raw material. The facility will become operational at the end of Q1 2023. (NOK 400 million)
- New extrusion ingot recycling plant in Cassopolis, Michigan, USA. The plant will produce 120,000 mt per year from 2023 as the first large-scale production of low-carbon Hydro CIRCAL in North America. Hydro CIRCAL contains at least 75 percent post-consumer scrap. (NOK 1.5 billion)
- New casting furnace in Sunndal, Norway. Project will raise the capacity for production of special alloys by 35,000 mt per year, with project completion scheduled for Q1 2023. (NOK 60 million)
- New equipment at primary aluminium plant in Sunndal, Norway. This covers replacement and upgrade of the plant’s high voltage and rectifier system, new service cranes and electrification of selected operating vehicles. The plant is Europe's largest aluminium plant and supplier of low-carbon aluminium, with capacity of 450,000 mt per year. Completion in 2025. (NOK 750 million)
- Establishment of recycling facility in Høyanger, Norway. The dedicated aluminium recycling facility, Høyanger Recycling, will be located by the Hydro primary aluminium plant, and will have annual capacity of 33,000 mt starting in Q1 2023. (NOK 105 million)
- Expansion of recycling facility in Deeside, UK. The investment will increase the plant’s aluminium recycling capacity to 70,000 mt per year, including its production of low-carbon Hydro CIRCAL, from Q1 2023. (NOK 28 million)
- Upgrade of electrolysis cells at primary aluminium plant in Årdal, Norway. The project will improve the working environment, reduce energy consumption and contribute to increased profitability. Completion by end of 2022. (NOK 60 million)
- Upgrade of casthouse in Årdal, Norway. The project will lower energy consumption and CO2 footprint, and raise production by about 5,000 mt annually. The new chamber for preheating cold metal and post-consumer aluminium prior to casting, will use surplus heat from the casting furnace as an energy source. (NOK 47 million)
- Investment in carbon capture company in USA. Hydro acquires a minority interest in Verdox, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spin-off, commercializing an all-electric carbon removal technology applicable both for capturing emissions from aluminium production and directly from air. (NOK 200 million)
- Upgrade of primary foundry alloy casthouse in Årdal, Norway. The project to upgrade and then restart the PFA casthouse will increase the capacity for the recycling of post-consumer scrap by 25,000 mt per year, starting in 2023. (NOK 63 million)
- Upgrade of primary aluminium plant in Karmøy, Norway. The project will upgrade the power supply system and anode rodding facility at the Karmøy plant, strengthening its position as a producer of low-carbon Hydro REDUXA. Completion by end of 2024. (NOK 320 million)
- Expansion of recycling facility in Henderson, Kentucky, USA. The investment will increase the plant’s production capacity, currently 90,000 mt per year, and enable the site to deliver certified recycled aluminium products to the automotive industry. (NOK 150 million)
- New production technology at primary aluminium plant in Årdal, Norway. Together with upgrading equipment on the electrolysis cells, the new HAL5000 pot control system will help increase production, reduce electricity consumption and lower CO2 emissions. (NOK 80 million)
- New recycling plant in Szekesfehervar, Hungary. The new recycling facility will be built on the same site as Hydro’s extrusion plant in Szekesfehervar. It will have annual production capacity of 90,000 mt beginning from Q1 2024. (NOK 880 million)
- Expansion of recycling capacity in Sjunnen, Sweden. The project will increase aluminium recycling capacity by 50 percent to 62,000 mt per year at the Sjunnen based casthouse. Completion by the end of 2022. (NOK 113 million)
- New extrusion press in Suzhou, China. The new press at its extrusion plant in Suzhou will serve China’s growing automotive and electric vehicle market. It is expected to begin operation in mid-2023. (NOK 390 million)
- New extrusion press in Nenzing, Austria. The new press at the extrusion plant in Nenzing will increase its production capacity by 30 percent starting in Q1 2023. Through life-cycle analysis, the plant has shown that its CO2 emissions in the extrusion process are one-seventh the European average. (NOK 450 million)
- New indirect extrusion press in Cressona, Pennsylvania, USA. The state-of-the-art indirect aluminium extrusion press line at the Cressona plant will utilize advanced Industry 4.0 technology to achieve improved quality, reliability, and productivity, and achieve benchmark energy consumption levels. Production start on the new press is expected in Q4 2023. (NOK 483 million)
- Upgrade and modernization of recycling facility in The Dalles, Oregon, USA. The investment will enable the recycling facility to increase capacity, reduce emissions/ton and improve metal cost with greater utilization of PCS and industrial scrap. (NOK 270 million)
- Expansion of recycling capacity in Navarra, Spain. The project will double the production capacity for recycled aluminum to 60,000 mt per year, starting in 2023. (NOK 104 million)
- Expansion of recycling capacity in Cressona, Pennsylvania, USA. The investment will increase the site’s recycling capabilities by 50,000 mt per year. The additional capacity will come on-line in Q4 2024 and will support the plant in achieving a 5 percent reduction in the average carbon footprint of its extrusion billet. (NOK 500 million)
- New extrusion press in Tønder, Denmark. The state-of-the-art press at the extrusion plant in Tønder will serve the European automotive and electric vehicle market starting in mid-2024. (NOK 300 million)
- New photovoltaic power system in Trzcianka, Poland. The solar park will generate 7.5 GWh/year to power the extrusion plant’s new press, currently under construction. The solar park is expected to be in operation in Q3 2022. (NOK 50 million)
- New extrusion press in Rackwitz, Germany. The press will increase the plant’s extrusion capacity by 12,000 mt per year. Its continuous aging oven will use 20 percent less energy than the two other presses at the Rackwitz plant, and it is based on exhaust gas, which reduces CO2 emissions. In addition, the press’s ingot heating oven utilizes an energy-saving unit. (NOK 110 million)
- New extrusion press in City of Industry plant, USA. The investment will increase capacity and expand the technical capabilities of the plant. In addition to the commercial transportation and industrial segments, the new press will serve the automotive market. (NOK 222 million)
Bauxite & Alumina – NOK 2,505 million (NOK 2.5 billion)
Aluminium Metal – NOK 3,763 million (NOK 3.7 billion)
Hydro Extrusions – NOK 3,872 million (NOK 3.9 billion)
Total – Approximately NOK 10,140 million (NOK 10.1 billion)
Published: September 27, 2022