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Norsk Hydro looks to master magnetism to keep carbon promise

Metal News - Published on Thu, 16 May 2019

Image Source: Reuters
Reuters reported that in the cavernous chamber of Norsk Hydro’s aluminum smelter on the Norwegian island of Karmoey, the magnetic forces are so strong they make heavy iron wrenches float out of the hands of workers. The company is piloting a technology that tames the effects of that powerful magnetic field, which is a consequence of the electrolysis process to make aluminum and leaches away energy. Norsk Hydro told Reuters it was using mathematical models to mitigate the effect of the magnetism and other energy waste. The pilot project can cut the amount of energy used in production by 15% compared to the industry average, the company said, but declined to disclose further details, citing commercial sensitivity.

The technique is one of the drives that Hydro is banking on to make good on its ambitious pledge to become carbon neutral from next year - meaning it can balance out its emissions with carbon savings elsewhere.

The Norwegian company is looking to gain a competitive advantage at a time when the aluminum industry, along with other industrial polluters, is under increasing pressure to reduce CO2 emissions, from investors as well as governments formulating carbon taxes.

Ms Hilde Merete Aasheim told Reuters in an interview at Norsk Hydro’s Oslo HQ that “If aluminum is to be a material for a low-carbon future ... we have to defend it by having as low emissions and as small a footprint as we can.” She said that “This is where the Karmoey project will play a part, developing technological elements that can be used in other plants to bring down energy consumption.”

Norsk Hydro said its pilot produced aluminum using between 11.8 and 12.3 kilowatt hours of energy per kilogram of aluminum. It said the 11.8 figure was a record low for the industry which it said averaged 14.1.

The plans have cost billions of Norwegian crowns, however, and there is a long way to go before they are likely to have a major impact across Norsk Hydro’s business.

The pilot project at Karmoey alone required an investment of 4.3 billion crowns (USD 490.69 million) - a sum roughly equal to the company’s net income last year - although about a third of that is being shouldered by state green investor Enova.

The scheme is still at an early stage, with a capacity of 75,000 tonnes of aluminum per year, a fraction of Norsk Hydro’s annual production of about 2 million tonnes.

Source :

Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Thu, 16 May 2019
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