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Enova to invest NOK 1.55 billion in Hydro's pilot plant at Karmøy, Norway
|By Business Wire
|June 13, 2014 06:17 AM EDT
The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy's energy enterprise,
Enova SF, has pledged NOK 1.55 billion in investment backing for a pilot
to trial Hydro's new aluminium production technology. Provided the EFTA
Surveillance Authority (ESA) approves the investment, the subsidy will
help to ensure that future production of aluminium will be both more
energy-efficient and climate-friendly.
"The reason we decided to back this project is because, following
thorough assessments, we found that the proposed technology holds
immense potential. Projections indicate high demand for aluminium in the
years ahead, not least in the transport sector. This makes it crucial
for production to be based on the lowest possible energy consumption and
the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions," says Enova's CEO, Nils
Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions
With its low mass, aluminium is a key resource in enabling the
automotive industry to manufacture less energy-intensive and more
climate-friendly cars. Against that, the production of aluminium is
associated with high energy consumption and heavy greenhouse gas
"This technology responds to part of this challenge in that it has the
potential to radically reduce energy consumption and thereby greenhouse
gas emissions," says Enova's CEO.
The pilot plant could be on stream by 2017 at the earliest. With the aid
of 60 new electrolytic cells, the full-scale pilot plant would
potentially be able to produce around 70,000 tonnes of aluminium per
annum. If the pilot yields the results Hydro is hoping for, the new
technology will be applied in further ventures both in Norway and
internationally. With the pilot and infrastructure built up at Karmøy,
there is every chance that the first facility to apply the technology
production-wide will remain located at this Norwegian site. If so,
estimates indicate that energy consumption would be reduced by a full
0.5 TWh, based on a production capacity of 320,000 tonnes per annum,
compared with the energy demands if Hydro were to use current technology.
"By giving an energy-intensive industry the opportunity to establish
new, energy-efficient production in Norway, in this particular instance,
we will be doing our bit to enable aluminium production to run purely on
hydroelectricity as opposed to coal and natural gas which produce
massive carbon emissions. In other words, this is good news for both the
global climate and Norwegian industry," says Nakstad.
For Norwegian production facilities that largely run on clean energy
already, greenhouse emissions would be reduced by 5 per cent. But if the
technology replaces production currently sited abroad where the energy
source is typically coal and natural gas, the resulting emissions
reductions will be vast. Globally, carbon emissions from an aluminium
plant average 7.3 kg per produced kilo of aluminium - but that excludes
China, where the same figure is almost double. Emissions from the Karmøy
pilot in Norway, however, would be less than 1.5 kg of carbon dioxide
per kilo of aluminium, if the production facilities run on clean energy
Enova SF has commended Hydro for the initiative.
"This technology may represent a quantum leap for aluminium production
worldwide. Norway has a number of advantages that make it an ideal arena
for developing new energy and climate technologies. Hydro is an
industrial locomotive and is once again steaming ahead", says Enova's
He believes the project confirms that Norway and Norwegian industry
could potentially have a key role to play in international climate
"This case in point demonstrates that Enova SF, through its climate
technology fund, is a facilitator for a range of beneficial projects
with huge international scope for diffusion. In this particular project,
Norwegian industry's core expertise and access to clean and low-cost
energy will be used in getting the world's aluminium production moving
in the right direction. Under the Norwegian Parliamentary Climate
Agreement, Enova SF was commissioned to facilitate Norway's development
of climate technology. Enova SF is registering great interest from
Norwegian and international players who are keen to partner with us to
make industry cleaner.
Nakstad stresses that the Karmøy project faces a few hurdles ahead of
the finishing line. First, the EFTA's supervisory body, ESA, which is
well informed of the project, has to grant its approval. Next will be
Hydro's final decision on whether or not to go ahead with the investment
in the pilot.
"Like us, Hydro, which will cover the greater share of the investment,
has great confidence in this project, and we have high hopes that it
will go ahead," says Nakstad.
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