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Hydro Inaugurates Karmøy Pilot Plant

Hydro Aluminium
Svein Richard Brandtzæg, and Hilde Merete Aasheim, head of Primary Metal in Hydro, stand in front of one of the pilot cells.

Hydro along with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg inaugurated its primary aluminum pilot plant in Karmøy, Norway. The technology pilot at Karmøy is an industrial-scale test plant, which Hydro’s will use to verify its new technology for aluminum electrolysis — which the company believes is the world’s most climate and energy efficient. The ambition of the project is to reduce energy consumption by around 15% per kilogram of aluminum produced comparedto the international average with the lowest CO2 emissions in the world.

“The technology Hydro has developed represents a quantum leap for climate-friendly and green industry,” says Hydro President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg. “This is a technological breakthrough. No one has managed to produce aluminum with such low energy consumption and high productivity as Hydro will at full-scale production.”

Hydro Aluminium
Hydro is aiming to achieve the world’s most climate-friendly aluminum production at Karmøy.

Hydro has tested the new technology, HAL4e, in a limited number of full-scale production cells at its research center in Årdal, Norway. Out of the 60 cells in the technology pilot, 48 cells will operate with an energy consumption of 12.3 kWh/kg aluminum — well under the world average of 14.1 kWh/kg aluminum and Hydro’s average of 13.8 kWh/kg aluminum.

In addition to this, 12 test cells under development — known as HAL4e Ultra cells — will be installed based on the identical technology platform as the HAL4e cells. The Ultra cells are expected to operate with an energy consumption of 11.5-11.8 kWh/kg aluminum. “No one has yet managed to produce aluminum with such low energy consumption and high productivity as Hydro is now planning to do,” the company noted.

A total of NOK 4.3 billion has been invested in the project, including NOK 1.6 billion in support from the government energy conservation agency ENOVA.

“The technology pilot here at Karmøy is green, smart and innovative,” said Solberg during the inauguration. “Green, because aluminum from the pilot will be the most energy-efficient in the world, with the smallest carbon footprint in the world. Smart, because smart researchers at Hydro’s technology centers in Årdal, Porsgrunn and Neuss, Germany, have developed new technology that makes this possible. Innovative, because this lays the foundation for new, green industrial jobs in Norway.”

The 60 new HAL4e electrolysis cells will be capable of producing 75,000 tonnes of aluminum per year when they start production in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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