recycled scrap metal

Aluminum's green future: Rio Tinto and Hydro unveil carbon-free and hydrogen-powered production plans

Written by Guillaume Osouf

Rio Tinto and partners are establishing industrial-scale production of carbon-free aluminum smelting, while Hydro will pilot hydrogen-powered aluminum scrap remelting.

Rio Tinto will design, engineer and build a demonstration plant equipped with 10 pots at its Arvida smelter in Quebec, Canada, using the first technology license issued by the Elysis joint venture.

Capacity will be up to 2,500 mt annually of commercial quality aluminum produced without direct greenhouse gas emissions — oxygen is emitted.

The first aluminum output is targeted by 2027. U.S.-based aluminum producer and Elysis JV partner, Alcoa, has the right to purchase up to 40% of the metal produced. The company will also manufacture the anodes and cathodes used in the new Elysis plant.

The technology has been developed at a research and development center in Saguenay-Lac St Jean, Quebec.

The Arvida demonstration plant is being set up as a new JV in which Rio Tinto will invest $179 million (€167 million) and the Quebec provincial government $106 million.

Meanwhile in Norway, Hydro says it will be testing technology using hydrogen to power a scrap remelting furnace at its Hoyanger recycling unit to provide insights into fuel switch technology, metal quality and the infrastructure required for green hydrogen projects.

“The project is part of Hydro’s strategy to pioneer the transition to greener aluminum and a step in Hydro’s technology roadmap towards zero-carbon products,” the Norwegian company said.

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