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Kvande spoke for 25 minutes before the 300 listeners at the aluminium industry's annual meeting place, the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society conference (TMS), which this year is held in New Orleans until Thursday.

Originally, Torstein Dale Sjøtveit, executive vice president in Aluminium Metal, were to give the presentation, but he was held up. Kvande stepped in on short notice.

Kvande was, as in 2007, the organizer of the opening seminar at TMS, which this year focuses on the challenges and opportunities that environment issues represent for the aluminium industry. Leading figures from Hydro, Alcoa, Rusal and Rio Tinto Alcan featured among those who gave presentations.

The themes turned on renewable energy, inert anodes and technology development to meet the environmental challenges.

Drastic emissions reductions

“Since 1990 Hydro have reduced emissions from green house gasses from the electrolysis process with around 65 percent, and we have further goals to reduce the emissions even more due to innovation and optimization of the production,” said Kvande during his presentation at the seminar.

At the conference yesterday, Kvande took the opportunity to present Hydro as a pure aluminium company, a company with great ongoing expansion projects. In Qatalum, Hydro is building the worlds biggest aluminium plant ever set up in one phase, and both at Karmøy and at the Kurri Kurri plant in Australia, the company is looking into possible expansion projects.

Three steps to greener aluminium

To face the environmental issues, Hydro has identified three steps that will make the production of primary aluminium more environmental friendly.

“The first step, which we have all ready started to perform, is developing new technology and new systems to optimize our production even further. That way we can reduce energy consumption, anode effects won’t occur as often, and emissions will be reduced to an even lover level,” the scientist said.

He pointed especially at Hydro developing the next generation cell technology which currently is under testing at the Årdal Research Center in Norway. Key properties of the cells include lower energy consumption, and their ability to concentrate CO2 from anode gas.

“The second step is to develop technology that reduces heat loss from the cells and that recycles the energy from the heat that is lost. In that way we achieve a more efficient use of energy,” he said, adding that heat loss from today’s electrolytic cells represent approximately 50 to 55 percent of the energy consumption from producing aluminium.

“The third step,” he continued, “is to concentrate and separate CO2 enriched gas from the cells. Here we have already started test projects at the Årdal Research Center.”

Aluminium – a part of the solution

One theme that all the lecturers at the seminar addressed yesterday was the green profile of aluminium, when looked at in its life long perspective.

“Aluminium is quite power consuming when it is being produced. But if we take the whole life cycle into consideration, it paints a totally different picture,” said Kvande, explaining that aluminium can be recycled and re-melted over and over, with no loss of either properties or quality. Only five percent of the initial power consumption is required to recycle or re-melt the metal.

“That is why aluminium is a part of the solution, not the problem,” said Kvande.

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