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Novelis to trial hydrogen use at aluminum recycling facility

A lift moves aluminum in a facility
Novelis' Latchford aluminum recycling plant Novelis

Novelis Inc.'s Latchford plant in the U.K. has been awarded £4.6 million to establish hydrogen burning trials as part of the U.K. Government's £55 million industrial fuel switching competition, as part of the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP), and the wider regional HyNet project.

Novelis joined HyNet in 2017 and has been supporting the development of the regional infrastructure project as well as conducting its own technical feasibility studies on the use of hydrogen as a direct replacement for 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 of Novelis Inc. and president of Novelis Europe. "Besides decarbonizing our own facility, this collaboration drives the industrial decarbonization of the whole north-west region in the U.K."

With the recently awarded grant by the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero, Novelis' Latchford plant will test the use of hydrogen on one of its recycling furnaces in a demonstration phase in 2024.

"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 at Novelis Latchford. 

The trial has been set up in collaboration with Progressive Energy, a U.K. energy company, and requires the installation of new burners and regenerators - both capable of operating with hydrogen or a blended hydrogen/gas input - and replacing the furnace lining material with one suitable for hydrogen.

Depending on the final configuration, replacing natural gas with hydrogen to feed the remelting furnace could reduce CO2eq emissions by up to 90 percent compared to using the same amount of natural gas.

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

In addition to its contribution to HyNet, Novelis' research and development teams worldwide are also investigating the ability to use plasma, electricity, and biomass to power its manufacturing operations.

Company info

3560 Lenox Road, Suite 2000
Atlanta, GA
US, 30326


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