Hydro’s competitive advantage is our ability to innovate. We use our expertise to create better products and better environmental effects.
We constantly create better and more efficient products by applying our expertise in energy-efficient production, advanced metallurgy and value-added products and services.
Committed to innovation
As a technology-driven company, we value innovation highly, making large investments in technology and product development every year. These investments produce valuable returns, helping to keep us at the leading edge of our industry.
One example is the Qatalum aluminium metal plant in Qatar. The plant was opened in 2010 and is the largest and one of the most cost-effective aluminium plants in the world. Qatalum has a capacity of producing 585,000 tonnes of aluminium a year.
The technology we are using in Qatalum is the result of a drive for continuous improvement. Our next-generation cell technology, called HAL4e, will help us further lower emissions per tonne of produced aluminium. The technology has been tested in full-scale production cells delivering an energy consumption of 12.5 kWh/kg. This technology is being further developed (HAL super-efficient energy or HALsee) targeting a maximum of 12 kWh/kg in in addition to improved cell productivity. Our long-term vision is to develop affordable reduction cell technology that approaches an energy consumption of 10 kWh per kg aluminium.
Hydro also works to improve technology used in the building and automobile industry. Globally, about 40 percent of energy is consumed in buildings. The Sapa Building Systemes (SBS) of our 50 percent owned joint venture Sapa, is at the forefront in the development of products and solutions for energy-efficient buildings.
Using aluminium in automotive applications helps reduce vehicle weight, which in turn reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions. Hydro is now performing a full-scale testing of Adjustable Flexible Mould technology (AFM) to target automotive sector in sheet ingot market. Further, our HA6016-X clad alloy enables substantially improved formability, a main challenge in automotive applications. Greater formability of our rolled products enables new, innovative designs and generates costs savings by reducing the number of joining operations in the production process at no downgrading of recycling characteristics.
All our innovation is driven by close ties to our customers. Staying on top of market developments and customer needs helps to keep us responsive and relevant. For instance with Nicholl Food Packaging of the U.K. and its customer, food retailer Marks & Spencer, we created a new generation of smooth-walled aluminium trays that keep food fresher, look more attractive in store and are made from recycled metal.
Our aluminium recycling facility in Holmestrand, Norway, was able to come up with the quality of aluminium foil that Nicholls needed to produce the trays for Marks & Spencer. They did it through close teamwork between customer contacts, metal production and processing teams. Going the extra distance for customers helps us create breakthrough solutions.