German copper smelter Aurubis is to become one of the first in the world to use hydrogen instead of fossil gas to decarbonize its production process. The company will invest EUR 40 million to convert its anode furnaces in Hamburg to hydrogen-ready mode.
The new furnaces will be able to operate using hydrogen or fossil gas, depending on the availability and cost of hydrogen. This will give Aurubis the flexibility to reduce its CO2 emissions even before enough green hydrogen is available on the market.
Aurubis is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 as part of the Science Based Targets initiative. The new anode furnaces are expected to save up to 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year when using hydrogen only.
The new furnaces are being developed in collaboration with Finnish company Metso Oyj. Metso has supplied anode furnaces for copper refining and scrap melting since the 1970s. Its Outotec Anode Furnaces are designed for safety and sustainability, enabling lower energy consumption, decreasing batch cycle time for more efficient refining, and resulting in cleaner off-gases.
The new anode furnaces are expected to be operational in spring 2024.
The use of hydrogen in copper smelting is a significant development for the decarbonization of the copper industry. Copper is a key metal in many industries, including construction, electronics, and transportation. The decarbonization of copper production will help these industries to reduce their environmental impact.
The new anode furnaces at Aurubis Hamburg are also expected to have a positive impact on the local economy. The project is expected to create jobs and boost economic activity in the region.
The use of hydrogen to decarbonize copper smelting is a significant development for the copper industry and the environment. The new anode furnaces at Aurubis Hamburg are a step in the right direction, and they are expected to have a positive impact on the local economy.