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Hydro investing in sorting technology for recycling

To further strengthen its activities in aluminium recycling, Hydro have acquired WMR Recycling GmbH (WMR) in Dormagen, Germany, from Kural GmbH and Kurth Grundstücksverwaltungs UG. Following the transaction, Hydro will own the most advanced aluminium scrap sorting technology in the world.

The agreement was signed on Friday, February 27. Subject to regulatory approval from competition authorities, the deal is expected to close by the beginning of April this year.

Patented technology

“The scrap-sorting technology in the WMR plant is the most advanced in the world, and we will now hold the patented rights to this technology,” says Roland Scharf-Bergmann, head of Recycling in Hydro’s Primary Metal business area.

Utilizing x-ray transmission and several other sorting technology elements, the plant is set up to sort 36,000 tonnes of aluminium scrap per year. The plant, which is located in Dormagen, Germany, will supply Hydro’s recycling plants in Europe with shredded and sorted post-consumed aluminium scrap.

Hydro's plant for recycling of used beverage cans, which is prepared for construction in Neuss, close to Dormagen, will share several of the technology elements from the WMR plant, optimized for closed loop recycling of used beverage cans.

Scrap sorting increasingly important

Scharf-Bergmann says efficient sorting of scrap will be more important for the aluminium industry in the years to come.

Roland Scharf-Bergmann

“In order to produce the alloy composition our customers require, we need full control over the alloy composition of the input factors we put into the furnaces. For this reason, developing and utilizing efficient sorting technology for scrap is of key importance for our recycling business,” he says. “Only when we sort the scrap effectively can we utilize the positive recycling properties of aluminium to the full extent,” says Scharf-Bergmann.

Hydro has an overall ambition to become carbon neutral by 2020, and recycling is an important contributor to reaching that goal since aluminium recycling reduces CO2 emissions and saves up to 95 percent of the energy needed to produce primary aluminium.

In 2014, Hydro recycled close to 1.1 million tonnes of aluminium, thus being a significant player in the global aluminium recycling industry.

Synergies with current organization

Since 2013, Hydro has cooperated with the previous owners of the WMR plant through a tolling agreement, supplying several of Hydro’s recycling plants with sorted and shredded scrap from different sources and products. “Our experience with the plant has been very good,” says Scharf-Bergmann.

In addition to sharing the use of several technology elements with Hydro’s upcoming recycling plant for used beverage cans in Neuss, the Dormagen plant is located close to Hydro’s R&D-organization in Bonn and the company’s production plants in Grevenbroich and Neuss, thus further strengthening Hydro’s recycling organization in Germany. 

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