Industry News

Novelis to test hydrogen instead of natural gas in recycling furnaces

by | Jul 6, 2023

As part of the UK Government’s £55m Industrial Fuel Switching Competition – formed under the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) and the wider regional HyNet project – sustainable aluminum solutions provider Novelis has been awarded £4.6m to establish hydrogen burning trials at its UK-based Latchford plant.

Since joining the HyNet project in 2017, Novelis has conducted its own technical feasibility studies on the use of hydrogen as a direct replacement for natural gas.

The grant – awarded by the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero – will see the Latchford plant testing the use of hydrogen in one of its recycling furnaces in a demonstration phase which is scheduled to begin in 2024. The trial, set up in partnership with UK-based energy company Progressive Energy, will see new burners and regenerators capable of operating with hydrogen or a blended hydrogen/gas input being installed alongside a new furnace lining material which is suitable for use with hydrogen.

It is estimated that by replacing natural gas with hydrogen to feed the remelting furnace, CO2 equivalent emissions could be reduced by up to 90% when using the same amount of natural gas.

“Switching to renewable energy sources is a key initiative to advance on our journey toward carbon-neutral production,” said Emilio Braghi, executive vice president, Novelis and president, Novelis Europe. “Besides decarbonizing our own facility, this collaboration drives the industrial decarbonization of the whole Northwest region in UK.”

“We are proud to be one of the pioneers using hydrogen within the aluminum industry and that these trials at Latchford will additionally advance research on the viability of integrating hydrogen power in our recycling operations around the world,” said Allan Sweeney, plant manager, Novelis Latchford.

“Decarbonizing our melting processes is a critical lever to achieving our sustainability goals of reducing our carbon footprint by 30% by 2026 and being carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner,” said Suzanne Lindsay-Walker, vice president, sustainability, Novelis.

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