Norwegian aluminium company Hydro has produced green hydrogen-fuelled recycled aluminium as part of a test at its extrusion plant in Navarra, Spain

Norwegian aluminium company Hydro has produced green hydrogen-fuelled recycled aluminium as part of a test at its extrusion plant in Navarra, Spain, via its subsidiary Hydro Extrusions.

The company claims the development to be a world first.

It used carbon-free hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas as fuel for aluminium recycling in the test, which was conducted by hydrogen experts from subsidiary Hydro Havrand, in association with hydrogen technology provider Fives.

Fives designed and supplied the key components and controls needed for the safe operation of the system.

Hydro Extrusions executive vice-president Paul Warton said: “We are excited to be conducting this test and it demonstrates Hydro’s commitment to decarbonisation. By removing the carbon emissions from the energy source, we will be able to produce carbon-free aluminium from recycling post-consumer scrap.”

Hydro stated that the test provided new insights on switching fuel from natural gas to hydrogen and its impact on the quality of metal.

Hydrogen has a different behaviour and burns at a different temperature compared with natural gas.

Through the test, the differences affecting the metal’s melting and process and quality were also examined.

The test was necessary for maturing the fuel switch to hydrogen in aluminium production.

Hydro stated that its results are also relevant in using hydrogen in primary aluminium casthouses and in other high-temperature processes such as glass or cement.

Hydro Havrand head Per Christian Eriksen said: “This test is part of developing commercial fuel switch solutions and to demonstrate that hydrogen can be used in aluminium production. Green hydrogen can remove hard-to-abate emissions from fossil fuels, in processes where electricity is not an alternative, both in the aluminium industry and in other heavy industries.”

Hydro and Fives are analysing results from the test and a final report of the test is expected to be readied later this year.

Hydro Havrand will continue to build capabilities, with the goal of becoming a industrial fuel switch solutions provider in green hydrogen.