Hydro to upgrade Årdal casthouse

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Hydro plans to invest NOK47m (EUR4.6 m) in the casthouse upgrade at its Årdal aluminium plant in Norway.

The upgrade will improve safety, lower energy consumption and contribute to increased production.

A new preheating chamber

The investment will go to a new preheating chamber, which will be installed during the year. This will be used for preheating cold metal and post-consumer aluminium before it is added to the casting process. Today, the casting furnaces are used for preheating, but a dedicated preheating chamber will make the casting process more efficient, safer and it will use surplus heat from the casting furnace as an energy source.

Increase in profitability, sustainability and safety

“This project involves increased profitability, sustainability and safety. Hydro has an ambition to double the use of post-consumer aluminium. This investment will contribute to this, while reducing the plant’s CO2 footprint through smart utilization of surplus energy. A preheating chamber will also make it even safer to add post-consumer aluminium to the casting furnace, as preheating eliminates the risk of moisture in the metal,” says Ola Sæter, head of primary production in Hydro.

The casting furnace emits excess heat during operation. This can be used as an energy source for the new preheating chamber. The increased efficiency achieved with the preheating chamber will enable Hydro Årdal to increase production by about 5,000 tpy.

The upgrade comes on top of a recently announced NOK60m (EUR 6m) investment to upgrade the electrolysis cells at Hydro Årdal. Introduction of the new cell control system is expected to start at the end of 2022. The energy savings from the project will be some 860 MWh per year.

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