The Energy Awards 2014 were recently presented at a ceremony in Berlin, with more than 300 guests from politics, economy and science present. The Energy Awards each year honor the best innovations and ideas in the energy sector, so they are the “Oscars” of the energy turnaround in Germany.
The award for “Industrial Facility of the Year” was given to Alunorf project manager Olaf Trepels and Energy & Environment specialist Johann Giemsa, together with Thomas Mock, Director Public Affairs of Hydro’s Rolled Products business.
The trophy for the plant in Neuss, Germany, acknowledges a step-change innovation in the annealing of aluminium coils, which is leading to considerable savings of energy and emissions.
The annealing process has remained the same for decades: Giant rolled aluminium coils had to cool for 24 hours before being reheated up to 480 degrees centigrade in an annealing furnace, in preparation for rolling to ever thinner gauges for use as offset printing plates or lightweight automotive parts.
The new special furnaces can take rolled aluminium coils, without previous cooling – which has been the mandatory technical standard so far – and treat them from their actual temperature condition. “We save as much energy annually as 9,000 private households typically consume,” says project manager Olaf Trepels.