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“I have been looking forward to this. Finally, production is back in full swing at Hydro Husnes. Hydropower-based primary aluminum with a world-leading low-carbon footprint is produced here – you should be proud of that,” Aasheim said when she met employees at Hydro Husnes.

“Husnes is a symbol of new, greener industrial development in Norway – a modern cornerstone that expand and renews, that plays an important role in the local community in terms of jobs, but also a producer of low-carbon aluminum that plays an important role on the road to a circular economy. A big salute to everyone who has contributed, and to the 100 new employees here – welcome to Hydro,” said Aasheim.

One of two production lines, the B line, was closed in 2009 as a result of the financial crisis.

“It looked gloomy for a while. But the introduction of CO2 compensation in the EU and Norway made it possible to enter into new, market-based power contracts that ensured further operations and new investments. It shows how crucial the basic framework conditions are for the export industry in global competition, and it is important that they are predictable also in the future – that makes the difference between sunset industry and industrial development,” Aasheim emphasized.

In 2017, Hydro decided to invest NOK 1.5 billion in both a solid upgrade and the restart of the B line. Since then, work has been going on in the one-kilometer-long production hall and now the project has been completed: 200 electrolysis cells for aluminum production have been restarted. With technology elements from Hydro’s technology pilot at Karmøy, the plant is a world-class in terms of climate, environment and performance. About 195,000 tonnes of aluminum will now be produced here annually.

“This has been a long journey. From closing down to framework conditions falling into place and now that Hydro Husnes is back in full operation. It was great to enter a warm production hall full of activity. Congratulations to Hydro Husnes, said Leader of the Union Industri Energi, Frode Alfheim.

A ‘recycled’ gift to the municipality

As part of celebrating that Hydro Husnes is finally back to full capacity, the aluminum plant and the urban furniture manufacturer Vestre have joined forces to donate new outdoor furniture to the Husnes community.

“We have had a number of collaborative projects with Hydro. When the idea of ​​decorating Husnes with Vestre furniture was launched, we threw ourselves into it. This place represents what we in Vestre stand for, namely investment in greener, Norwegian mainland industry,” says the CEO of Vestre, Jan Christian Vestre.

Vestre CEO Jan Christian Vestre and Hydro's CEO Hilde Merete Aasheim at a bench made using Hydro aluminium. Hydro's Husnes plant in the background.
Vestre CEO Jan Christian Vestre and Hydro's CEO Hilde Merete Aasheim at a bench made using Hydro aluminium. Hydro's Husnes plant in the background. (Photo: Nils Vibe-Rheymer)

The benches, tables, seating groups and waste containers are manufactured by Vestre in low-carbon recycled Hydro aluminum, Hydro CIRCAL.

“This proves that if there is political will and the right framework conditions, then you can operate profitably and sustainably in the high-cost country of Norway. We believe in creating social meeting places where people can come together, and if we can do it in a responsible and sustainable way, then we are doing something right. It is as we say in Vestre: everyone can save the world. A little,” says Vestre.

The urban furniture of the future

Vestre is one of Europe’s most successful urban furniture manufacturers and their products are located in places such as Times Square in New York, Piazze Aperte in Milan, Bergmannstraße in Berlin and King’s Cross in London. It is the Husnes furniture that has been selected to be a pilot for Blockchain technology.

“This is the future. Consumers are increasingly demanding access to the materials’ footprints and travel from raw material to finished product. Customers want to make sustainable choices, and then it is up to us as manufacturers to make that information available. It is about transparency and documented quality in a simple and available way. With the Husnes furniture, the public can easily scan the QR code that is attached to it and see the life cycle and footprint of the aluminum and wood,” Vestre explains.

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