Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro ASA’s project to produce zero-carbon primary aluminium by the end of the decade entered a new phase this month, as it announced an investment in a HalZero test facility that will be supported by Norway’s government.
Hydro says this new development puts it on track to meet its goal of pilot production of zero-carbon aluminium by 2030. The process, which emits only oxygen and no carbon dioxide, may well change the entire aluminium industry, posits the firm.
Eivind Kallevik, Executive Vice President for Hydro Aluminium Metal, said in a press release that the achievement can only be made with help from its partners.
“The development of HalZero is our most groundbreaking technology initiative ever. This could be the first industrial production of primary aluminum without greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The plan is ambitious, and there is considerable risk. Therefore, we depend on the authorities to join us on the road to make a major investment.”
The Norwegian government has pledged NOK141 million of the estimated NOK400 million necessary for the project by way of state enterprise Enova. Work to date on HalZero has been carried out at Hydro’s Technology Center in Porsgrunn, Norway for the past seven years.
Kristian Nakstad, CEO in Enova, elaborated upon the importance of the project.
“The technology that Hydro is developing here can contribute to significant emission reductions for the aluminium industry both in Norway and in other countries. Enova supports companies that take a lead in decarbonizing industry, and we believe that HalZero can contribute strongly to reducing emissions from the aluminium industry.”
Kallevik notes that consumer demand and a commitment to responsible production motivates Hydro.
“We know that demand for aluminium will increase, and aluminium without CO2 emissions will mean a lot for the climate goals. Today, the aluminium industry accounts for 2 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. We are aware of our responsibility and we want to take the lead in developing zero-emission technology for aluminium production.”
Kallevik went on to say that HalZero is one of several initiatives Hydro is currently undertaking aimed at carbon-free aluminium production.
“The aluminium industry needs optionality to increase our chances of reaching net zero by 2050. Working on several decarbonization routes in parallel increases our chances of success and the speed at which we will be able to reach our ambitious climate targets.”
Norsk Hydro, which was founded in 1905, financed by the Swedish Wallenberg family and French banks, began its life named Norsk hydro-elektrisk Kvælstofaktieselskab (literally, “Norwegian hydro-electric nitrogen limited”) by Sam Eyde. The Norwegian government owns approximately 40% of the company at the present time. Norsk Hydro is one of the largest aluminium companies in the world, with plants in Rjukan, Raufoss, Vennesla, Karmøy, Høyanger, Årdal, Sunndalsøra, and Holmestrand. Norsk also has several plants abroad.