In Norway, a renewable energy-powered smelter creates low-carbon aluminum for a sustainable future

In Norway, a renewable energy-powered smelter creates low-carbon aluminum for a sustainable future

Alcoa has recently completed the installation of a new furnace that uses renewable energy to melt and recycle scrap aluminum, saving energy and reducing carbon emissions while producing the low-carbon products that customers seek.

Located in Norway, Alcoa’s Mosjøen melter is fully powered by renewable energy and produces rolling ingots and foundry alloys, including metal for Alcoa’s SustanaTM line, the most comprehensive offering of low-carbon products in the aluminum industry, and metal certified from the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative. Specifically, Mosjøen produces EcoLumTM, a low-carbon primary aluminum with a carbon footprint 3.5 times better than the industry average, and EcoDuraTM aluminum, which includes at least 50% recycled content.

“The recycling furnace in Norway is a collaboration with MMG Aluminium AG, a metals company based in Germany that supplies the smelter with clean aluminum chips and shavings that have been compressed into briquettes.”

Most plants across the world remelt scrap using furnaces where the burners are powered by fossil fuels. The furnace at Mosjøen differs as it runs on electricity sourced from wind and hydropower, using alternating current that passes through a resisting coil to create heat. That heat melts the scrap, and any impurities are removed before pure aluminum is poured off via the furnace’s tilting mechanism.

The closed-loop induction furnace at Mosjøen is just one of many ways Alcoa is reinventing the aluminum industry for a sustainable future, including our technology roadmap that outlines a path toward a net zero future for the industry.

As the demand for low-carbon aluminum increases, technologies like the induction furnace will help deliver the raw materials required for a more sustainable world. 

Aluminum is one of the most important materials for a low-carbon future. It’s replacing both heavier metals and plastics across a wide range of applications, it’s crucial for the manufacture of green technologies such as solar and electric vehicles, andit’s light weight and nearly infinitely recyclable.

It’s precisely because of its role in the green economy that the aluminum industry and Alcoa in particular is working to decarbonize. 

[The aluminum industry, and Alcoa in particular, are working hard to decarbonize in recognition of their critical role in the green economy of the future.] TheInternational Aluminium Institute (IAI) says the global aluminum industry must slash greenhouse gas emissions by 77 percent by 2050 to meet global climate change goals.

The recycling furnace in Norway is a collaboration with MMG Aluminium AG, a metals company based in Germany that supplies the smelter with clean aluminum chips and shavings that have been compressed into briquettes.

Approximately 4,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year are avoided this way, reducing the total carbon footprint of the melted product dramatically. It is essentially the equivalent of taking about 1,000 cars with internal combustion engines off the road.

In addition, automation of the furnace increases efficiency, further reducing the energy used to operate it.

The induction furnace is able to operate semi- autonomously through a wide range of sensors and guiding systems, which is particularly helpful when blending scrap metal with primary aluminum to perfectly match the customer’s needs. The furnace is also charged, tended, cleaned, and robotically skimmed using an automated system, and technology that detects any unsupervised movement from the fully automated operations room increases safety.

Grethe Hindersland – President of Alcoa Norway

Grethe Hindersland is the President of Alcoa Norway and Operations Manager at one of Alcoa Norway’s two plants – Alcoa Lista. Before being named President of Alcoa Norway in 2022, she had an extensive background within the industry. Working her way upwards through 12 years at Alcoa Automotive. Returning to the aluminum industry after years in other type of business she took on the position as pot room manager at Alcoa Lista before spending 1 year as Plant Manager at Alcoa Portland Australia. She returned to Norway as Operations Manager at Alcoa Lista in 2019.

Other notable experiences include being a flight mechanic in the Norwegian Air Force and holding a Master of Management and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Norway and Germany, respectively.

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