Aluminum producer Hydro will invest 180 million euros ($195.39 million) in a new aluminum recycling plant in Spain that will produce 120,000 metric tons of low-carbon metal for Europe’s energy transition plans, the Norwegian company said.
Last year, the European Union included aluminum on its critical raw material list due to it being a key material for electric vehicles where it is used to reduce weight to help extend the driving range.
Primary aluminum production needs large amounts of electricity, making it extremely carbon-intensive. Reliance on coal in China to produce power means one metric ton of aluminum can involve emitting up to 20 metric tons of carbon, while in Europe the number is less than seven tons
Hydro’s Torija facility in northeastern Spain will emit four tons of carbon for one ton of aluminum when operational in 2026. Construction of the plant will start in the second half of 2024.
“We see increasing demand for low-carbon aluminum from consumers and increasing interest in how our material is produced,” Hydro Executive Vice President Eivind Kallevik told Reuters. “It’s an important shift from five years ago. Companies are now more interested in the embedded carbon footprint of the cars they produce.”
Recycled or secondary aluminum uses 95% less energy than primary metal.
Hydro will be able to recycle up to 70,000 tonnes of scrap aluminum, collected in Europe, at the new facility in Torija for the region’s electric vehicle, renewable energy and construction industries.
The Torija recycling project, Hydro’s second in Spain, follows the opening of Hydro’s Cassopolis plant in the United States last year. Cassopolis is expected to produce 120,000 tons of recycled aluminum annually.
Hydro is aiming to cut the carbon footprint of some of its aluminum to near zero by 2030 with technologies including renewable energy and carbon capture storage (CCS).
($1 = 0.9212 euros)
(By Pratima Desai; Editing by Sharon Singleton)