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Aluminium facades and aluminium extrusion ingot.
Aluminium facades made with extrusions in low-carbon aluminium can shrink the carbon footprint of a building. (Photo: Hydro / Matthias Rhomberg)

Nenzing extrusion plant a climate winner

May 06, 2021

The Hydro Nenzing extrusion plant in Austria demonstrates that it generates CO2 emissions in the extrusion process that are one-seventh the European average, positioning it as a reference for climate-conscious customers.

A life-cycle analysis of the products of the site confirms its leading position with its gate-to-gate CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions for extrusion operations and serves as a pilot for spreading best practices throughout Hydro.

Validated information through life-cycle analysis

Since 2012, Hydro Nenzing has had its own third-party verified EPDs (Environmental Product Declaration) for its profiles. Data in an EPD make it possible to provide customers with individual and validated information on the environmental impact of their products.

With topics such as sustainability, CO2 emissions, recycling and the use of natural resources being very high on the agenda, the availability of verified and transparent data are essential to enable customers to consciously choose more sustainable products.

"I am proud that we have set another important milestone in the area of ​​sustainability with the life-cycle assessment. This enables us to underpin the growing demand from our customers for verified and reliable data from suppliers," says Manfred Rotschne, Managing Director of Hydro Extrusion Nenzing.

Strong performance in international comparison

The main influencing factor of the environmental impact of an extruded aluminum profile is the choice of raw material. It is therefore worthwhile to look closely at the origin of the aluminum and to choose a climate-friendly primary material.

In addition to using greener aluminum produced with renewable energy sources, the plant can score points through a high share of green energy used at the location as well as constant efficiency improvements of internal processes, procedures and material use. As a direct consequence, the site can offer products with emission levels well below the European average for aluminum extrusion.

The life-cycle analysis provides results for various variants of primary materials and surface treatments as well as mechanical processing. The profiles produced by Nenzing demonstrably generate a much smaller ecological footprint than the market average.

Nenzing infographic

In the extrusion process, the plant only produces 0.096 kg CO2e / kg compared to 0.68 kg CO2e / kg (the European Aluminium Association average). In addition, impressive values ​​can be achieved in the anodizing process thanks to the long-term cooperation with a regional partner whose systems are state of the art: namely 59% less CO2e emissions compared to the average gate-to-gate value of suppliers in the industry.

Looking at the entire value chain, this means that a blank Hydro Nenzing profile made from the low-carbon primary aluminium billets in Hydro REDUXA has a CO2 footprint of 4.16 kg CO2e / kg profile. The comparison value for the average data of the GDA (General Association of the Aluminum Industry) is 8.46 kg CO2e / kg profile based on 2017 data.

If you go one step further in the added value and compare an anodized profile (also made from Hydro REDUXA), Hydro Nenzing generates 4.73 kg CO2e / kg profile. This contrasts with the comparison value of 10.7 kg CO2e / kg profile (average data from GDA). This means that anodized Hydro REDUXA profiles from the Nenzing site emit less than half in CO2 emissions in a cradle-to-gate perspective than a comparable GDA profile.

Sustainability in the company DNA

With the data from the life-cycle analysis, the site has reached an important milestone, but the journey continues. Further activities in the area of ​​sustainability are already in the planning phase, such as the switch to 100% renewable energy in the plant, additional sustainability information on customer documents and the promotion of Aluminium Stewardship Initiative-certified profiles.

Like the other Hydro production sites in the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region, Hydro Nenzing is certified according to both the ASI Performance and the ASI Chain-of-Custody standard.

“Our goal for now and for the future is to conserve resources and to reduce emissions together. That is where the greatest challenges of a more sustainable society lie,” says Rotschne.

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