Atlanta-based rolled aluminium firm Novelis Inc. has announced that its Latchford aluminium recycling plant in the United Kingdom is set to undertake hydrogen-burning trials.

The move comes following a £4.6 million grant as part of the country’s £55 million Industrial Fuel Switching Competition, a key facet of the larger £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) and the regional HyNet project.

Hydrogen Revolution in the Aluminium Industry

Novelis has been a contributing member of HyNet for six years, during which it has concurrently been advancing its own studies of using hydrogen as a substitute for natural gas. The trials, to be conducted in cooperation with the independent UK energy company Progressive Energy, will involve the replacement of new burners and generators capable of utilizing either hydrogen alone or a blend of hydrogen and natural gas.

The move towards hydrogen power is integral to Novelis’s broader ambitions of a greener aluminium industry. The trials at Latchford will not only serve as a pioneering initiative within the industry but will also advance research on the feasibility of integrating hydrogen power into their recycling operations globally.

Emilio Braghi, Executive Vice President of Novelis Inc. and President of Novelis Europe, highlighted in a press release that the grant will accelerate its shift away from non-sustainable fuels. “Switching to renewable energy sources is a key initiative to advance on our journey toward carbon-neutral production,” said Braghi. “This collaboration drives the industrial decarbonization of the entire North-West region in the UK.”

Towards a Carbon-Neutral Future

The firm’s drive towards decarbonizing its melting processes is an essential part of achieving its sustainability goals. Suzanne Lindsay-Walker, Vice President of Sustainability at Novelis Inc., stated, “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.”

The company anticipates that replacing natural gas with hydrogen could slash CO2eq emissions by up to 90 per cent upon the successful installation and commissioning of the hydrogen equipment. This bold step represents a milestone in Novelis’s strategy to contribute significantly to global decarbonization efforts.

With the Latchford plant at the vanguard of a greener future, the move to hydrogen power is set to revolutionize the aluminium industry and drive industrial decarbonization efforts in the UK and beyond.

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