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Hydro seeks support for Karmøy pilot plant

Hydro has asked Enova for support in connection with a project to test next-generation aluminium electrolysis technology at a pilot plant in Karmøy, Norway.

The plant will have annual production capacity of 70,000 metric tons with the aim of testing the world’s most energy-efficient aluminium technology in a full-scale industrial environment.

The Norwegian government-owned organization Enova has established a program to support energy- and climate-related technology in industry. Hydro and Enova have been in talks on how to realize new, groundbreaking technology that can reduce energy consumption and emissions from Norwegian industry.

A 70,000-mt pilot plant in the application is estimated to cost about NOK 3.5 billion. Hydro has applied for support under Enova’s program for climate technology totaling about NOK 1.8 billion over a four-year period.

When Hydro first presented the plans in March, President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg emphasized that a number of issues had to be settled before the project could begin.

The electrical power grid in the region must be upgraded to handle demand from electrifying offshore oil platforms and other industrial developments.

The company must also secure power at competitive prices and establish a financing mechanism with Enova in which the organization, within its mandate, can offer substantial and decisive support.

A pilot plant in addition is dependent on market developments in aluminium and on meeting profitability expectations.

Hydro’s technology center in Årdal, Norway, is a global leader in developing new and more energy-efficient cell technology. It is this technology, together with new anodes and raw materials that Hydro wants to test at the new plant.

If the project is realized, Karmøy will host the most energy-efficient aluminium production in the world. Such a plant could begin production in 2017 at the earliest.


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