A major advantage for Hydro in innovation is our broad knowledge and control of the entire aluminium value chain, from bauxite mining, alumina refining, electrolysis of primary aluminium and alloy technology to finished products and recycling.
Our competitive advantage as a producer of aluminium is a continuous focus on improving our processes and products with an eye on the market and the environment.
Our R&D efforts are concentrated on:
- Making products and solutions that promote the use of aluminium and sustainable development
- Implementing technology elements in order to optimize productivity, energy efficiency and emissions in aluminium smelters
- Developing recycling technology
- Utilizing the opportunities of Industry 4.0 to improve process stability, productivity, cost and safety
Most of our primary aluminium production takes place in Norway, with our abundant renewable energy in the form of hydropower, as well as wind and solar power. But we don’t rest there.
In our primary aluminium production, we have spent decades finding new ways to use less electricity. Making aluminium is an energy-intensive business. By reducing the amount of electricity needed to produce a tonne of aluminium, we reduce the amount of climate emissions per tonne of aluminium.
One example is our 75,000-tonne-per-year technology pilot aluminium plant at Karmøy, Norway, which employs our proprietary HAL4e technology and reached full production in 2018. The Karmøy Technology Pilot is producing the world’s most climate- and energy-efficient primary aluminium.
That technology doesn’t stay in Karmøy. Our primary aluminium in Husnes has doubled its capacity by opening a new production line using the advanced Karmøy technology. That line can produce the among most energy- and climate-efficient aluminium in the world.
Another example of our advanced technology is Hydro CIRCAL, our recycled low-carbon aluminium. Hydro has the most advanced recycling technology and metallurgy competence in the industry. This enables us to produce Hydro CIRCAL – a low carbon product with a certified recycled content of more than 75 percent post-consumer scrap. We can produce this with 100 percent post-consumer scrap already today, buying clean and sorted scrap, but doing this in a profitable way requires digging deeper into the scrap pile of difficult, unsorted and contaminated scrap. This means utilizing and further developing our advanced sorting technology.
Our goal is not just to produce better, greener aluminium for our own sake, though. We work closely with our customers – early in the product cycle – to leverage our technological expertise in design solutions that help meet their goals for their market and the climate.