A plant in Spain sets a global milestone by using green hydrogen to produce recycled aluminum

In an unprecedented achievement for the industry, Hydro, a leading company in the aluminum sector, has reached a significant milestone by producing the first batch of recycled aluminum using green hydrogen as an energy source. Mejor de Aluminio brings us the details.

This historic event took place at Hydro’s extrusion plant located in Irurtzun, Navarra, making it the first facility worldwide to successfully carry out industrial-scale production of recycled aluminum using green hydrogen.

Until now, hydrogen-related tests in aluminum production were conducted solely in laboratory settings. However, the trials conducted at the Navarra plant represent a significant milestone in utilizing green hydrogen as an energy source for recycled aluminum production.

This achievement is the result of a pilot project in which natural gas, commonly used as fuel in the smelting process for aluminum recycling, has been replaced with carbon-free green hydrogen. This initiative not only showcases Hydro’s commitment to decarbonizing the industry but also positions Hydro’s Spanish plant as a benchmark for sustainable production within the group.

“We are thrilled with the success of these trials, which demonstrate Hydro’s dedication to the decarbonization process. By eliminating CO2 emissions from the energy source, we can produce recycled aluminum from post-consumer scrap without carbon impact,” said Paul Warton, Executive Vice President of Hydro Extrusions.

The trials were carried out by Hydro Havrand experts in collaboration with Fives North America Combustion, a group specializing in industrial engineering and hydrogen burner technology. Together, they have developed the necessary components and controls for the safe and effective operation of green hydrogen in recycled aluminum production.

This project not only focuses on carbon-free recycled aluminum production but also provides new insights into replacing natural gas with hydrogen in the industry. Green hydrogen is considered one of the most promising fuels to address emissions that are more challenging to reduce in various sectors, including the aluminum industry. By using green hydrogen in processes that require high temperatures, such as aluminum smelting, we open the door to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

Hydro and Fives will continue analyzing the results of this initial project until the end of the year. Hydro Havrand will further develop its capabilities in fuel substitution projects, with the ambition of becoming the leading provider of green hydrogen-based industrial solutions.

This milestone not only signifies a significant advancement for Hydro but also represents a crucial step toward transitioning to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly aluminum industry.

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