OSLO – Norwegian aluminium maker Norsk Hydro plans to transfer energy-saving technology from a pilot project to primary smelters in the next five to six years, boosting output and cutting costs, the company's head of technology told Reuters.
Hydro on Monday announced the start of production at its new Karmoey plant, built to test and improve technology that the company says consumes at least 15% less energy than conventional aluminium production.
"Within the next five to six years all cells at all of our facilities will have all or part of this technology installed," said technology chief Hans Erik Vatne.
"This will give us significantly lower energy consumption across the board, in addition to lower pollution and increased productivity."
Hydro will evaluate and optimise the technology over the next few years but has already begun to implement some of it in existing production facilities.
The cost of installation at plants around the world is insignificant, Vatne said, because the so-called production cells where aluminium is made need replacing every five to six years.
"Using the new technology when changing the worn-out cells will be only marginally more expensive than the old technology. Going forward, we will start to implement this as we change the old cells," he added.
While plants with relatively expensive sources of energy could use the new technology to cut costs, plants with low-cost electricity could use the savings to increase output, Vatne said.
"We will have to evaluate this from project to project and find a good balance ... But all in all, this technology will help us to cut energy consumption significantly in addition to increasing productivity."