Hydro, a key player in the aluminium industry, takes a significant step towards achieving zero CO2 emissions by testing emission-free plasma technology in the Sunndal casthouse.
In a groundbreaking move towards sustainable aluminium production, Hydro is spearheading the testing of emission-free plasma technology at its Sunndal casthouse. This initiative aligns with Hydro’s commitment to achieving zero CO2 emissions in aluminium production and has received soft funding from the Norwegian Government, highlighting its potential impact on hard-to-abate industries worldwide.
The process of re-melting aluminium into new products traditionally relies on energy-intensive, high-temperature procedures, often powered by fossil fuels like natural gas. Hydro’s adoption of new plasma technology aims to electrify this process, utilizing renewable energy sources already employed in its primary smelters. Eivind Kallevik, Executive Vice President for Hydro Aluminium Metal, emphasizes the transformative potential of plasma technology, stating, “If we succeed with the pilot project at Sunndal, it will not only affect the aluminium industry but also other hard-to-abate industries worldwide.”
Hydro aims to achieve a milestone by melting the first aluminium with near-zero emissions from the Sunndal casthouse in the fourth quarter of 2025. The pilot project is projected to reduce carbon emissions by over 500 tonnes annually, with a global potential impact of approximately 11 million tonnes of CO2 reduction in aluminium casthouses and recyclers. Enova, a Norwegian Government-backed enterprise facilitating the transition to a low-emission society, has provided crucial support by granting NOK 39.6 million for the project.
As part of Hydro’s broader commitment, the company targets zero emissions throughout the entire aluminium value chain by 2050. Hydro Sunndal, recognized as Europe’s largest and most modern aluminium plant, serves as a testing ground for carbon emission capture from existing electrolysis. Additionally, Hydro has invested in a test facility in Porsgrunn to develop HalZero, a pioneering technology for primary aluminium production designed to eliminate carbon emissions from both electrolysis and anode baking.
Eivind Kallevik underscores Hydro’s collaboration with demanding customers to support their climate ambitions, offering low-carbon and recycled aluminium. He states, “We are proud to offer aluminium based on renewable energy with a 75 percent lower carbon footprint than the global average.”