Hydropower – the source of Hydro
Hydro may be best known as the world’s only fully integrated aluminum company, but our name betrays our history as pioneers in hydropower production. It all started in 1906 when we built a hydroelectric power plant at Svelgfoss, close to Notodden in Norway, to provide energy for our first potassium nitrate plant.
Hydropower and aluminum production
In 1963, we opened our first aluminum production plant based on hydropower on Karmøy, an island off the Norwegian west coast. This also marked the beginning of Hydro’s journey to become the world’s leading company in sustainable aluminum production.
Today, we operate more than 20 hydropower facilities throughout Norway, providing around 10TWh of clean and renewable energy annually for our aluminum production.
Renewable energy and the environment
Because it takes a lot of energy to produce aluminum, it is very important to use energy sources that leave a small carbon footprint. An aluminum plant that base its electricity on coal, as is common in several regions of the world, has five times higher CO2 emissions than one that base it on electricity from renewable sources. Therefore, our core strategy is to grow our operations in regions of the world where we can use power with zero emissions, such as hydropower, windpower, solar power and more.
Hydro Karmøy – still in front
True to our tradition of pioneering cleaner energy and more efficient production methods for primary aluminum, Hydro Karmøy is now the keystone in our biggest effort ever to modernize and streamline production methods in order to reduce our energy consumption. Based on HAL4e-technology from our research center in Årdal, Norway, Hydro Karmøy will cut energy consumption by 15% compared to the world average and also sprout other innovations that will fortify our position as the world’s leading sustainable aluminum producer.