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Hydro is investing $15 million into its Henderson, KY facility to deliver certified recycled aluminum products to the automotive industry and further reduce the environmental impact from production. This investment will enhance Hydro’s position as the leading producer of low-carbon, recycled aluminum in North America.

Increased volumes of recycled aluminum for automotive applications

The investment will support two key projects. Hydro will install a new homogenization furnace to improve the plant’s capabilities to meet the specifications of the growing U.S. automotive market, enabling Hydro Henderson to produce a greater volume of advanced alloys using recycled metals with a lower carbon footprint.  

“At Hydro we want to accelerate the green transformation of the aluminum and automotive industries by increasing our use of post-consumer scrap to pull more used material into the value chain and promote a circular economy, while also delivering our automotive customers advanced, high strength alloys,” says Trond Gjellesvik, President of Hydro Aluminum Metals in the U.S. “As carmakers continue to make metal substitution decisions, particularly for electric vehicles, our investments allow us to support our forward-leaning customers in reaching their climate ambitions.”   

Reduced environmental footprint

Hydro will also install a new baghouse – a state-of the-art dust and gas collector for reducing air emissions – that will allow the plant to use greater volumes of post-consumer scrap and explore new, more difficult types of scrap, like material with paint or other contamination, which requires advanced equipment to recycle. The new baghouse will also improve the air quality inside the plant and reduce the overall environmental footprint from operations.  

“The first Hydro aluminum recycling plant built in the U.S. is here in Henderson, where we are pleased to have provided good career opportunities while supporting aluminum recycling throughout the Midwest now for nearly 25 years,” says Seth Augustine, the Henderson Plant Manager. “With these new investments, we look forward to doing so for the next 25 years and being a growing part of the expanding Kentucky automotive industry.” 

Support for local growth

To encourage investment and job growth in the community, at its July meeting the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Reinvestment Act. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1 million in tax incentives based on Hydro’s investment exceeding $8.5 million. Annual targets include: 

  • Maintaining at least 47 full-time local jobs across 10 years; and 
  • Across the local workforce, paying an average hourly wage of $49, excluding benefits. 
  • By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability. 

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said of the investment: “Henderson is on a roll, and Hydro’s investment is just the latest in a series of exciting announcements bringing quality jobs and new opportunities for families in this community. From the I-69 Ohio River Crossing to landing the largest economic development project in Western Kentucky in 25 years, this is an exciting time for Henderson and the entire region. I want to thank Hydro’s leadership for their continued investment in Kentucky and our workforce, and I look forward to seeing the company’s continued success for years to come.” 

Expanding Hydro CIRCAL capabilities 

The investment will enable the Henderson plant to produce industry-leading volumes of recycled, low-carbon aluminum, including the proprietary advanced material, Hydro CIRCAL, creating an opportunity to supply Hydro’s most progressive, sustainability-focused customers with this cutting-edge product.  

Hydro CIRCAL is made with a minimum of 75% recycled, post-consumer aluminum scrap, certified by third-party auditors DNV GL, and has a market-leading CO2 footprint of just 2.3 kg CO2e/kg aluminum, or less.  

Hydro’s Henderson facility achieved its certification to produce Hydro CIRCAL on July 1. This follows the recent certification of Hydro’s plant in Commerce, Texas earlier this year. The initial volumes from Hydro’s Commerce and Henderson facilities will be approximately 4000 tonnes. The first large-scale production of Hydro CIRCAL will come from Hydro’s new, state-of-the-art recycling facility under construction in Cassopolis, Michigan. The plant is expected to start operations in 2023 with a total capacity of 130,000 tonnes extrusion billet, of which 40,000 tonnes will be Hydro CIRCAL.  


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