Work on the upgrade will start in the spring of 2022 and will improve the working environment for the operators at the metal plant, while reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions from the process. This contributes positively to the profitability of the plant.
In addition, the investment will also facilitate Hydro Årdal's use of next-generation cell control system, which has been further developed from the technology used in Hydro's technology pilot at Karmøy. Introduction of the new cell control system is expected to start at the end of 2022. The energy savings from the project will be approximately 860 MWh annually.
“The aluminum plant in Årdal is core to Hydro's Norwegian production system. The plant supplies low-carbon aluminum to customers with high quality expectations across Europe. In addition, Hydro Årdal is the main supplier of anodes to the other Norwegian aluminum plants. For us, safety and working environment always come first, and in addition, this investment will be used to modernize operations for the future,” says Ola Sæter, Head of Primary Production in Norsk Hydro.
Hydro has production of energy, aluminium and anodes as well as a research center in Årdal. The investment in upgrading the electrolysis cells in the aluminium plant follows the approximately NOK 600 million that Hydro has invested since 2017 in new casting technology, expansion and renewal of the anode plant, increased production from the electrolysis process and in the power supply to the metal production.
“We are pleased with the investment, which will both provide a better working environment and increased safety for our operators and modernize the electrolysis process. This project is important to position Hydro Årdal for a future where the production of low-carbon aluminum is becoming increasingly important,” says Wenche Eldegard, Plant Manager at Hydro Årdal.
“In the next few years, Hydro Årdal will make important contributions to Hydro’s ambitious climate goals, both through modernization of the plant and increased recycling of post-consumer scrap in the aluminium production. Furthermore, the research center will be central in developing new technology that will reduce the CO2 footprint from Hydro's aluminum production even further,” says Sæter.