Norsk Hydro to switch aluminum plants from gas to H2

Norsk Hydro is exploring the potential for developing and operating hydrogen facilities to meet large internal demand as well as serving an external market.

"We see a substantial potential for industrial hydrogen consumption. Taking a developer and operator role in the hydrogen sector represents an opportunity for Hydro to reduce industrial CO2 emissions and develop a profitable and sustainable business based on hydrogen,” said Hilde Merete Aasheim, President and CEO in Hydro.

Hydro has set out a clear strategic direction toward 2025 and aims to strengthen its position in low-carbon aluminum, while exploring new growth opportunities in recycling and new energy.

A developer and operator role for Hydro is in line with the company’s internal pipeline of possible hydrogen projects and would likely entail a full or partial switch from gas to hydrogen in plants in several locations. A probable start to this process would be to switch from gas to hydrogen at some of Hydro’s aluminum plants in Norway.

“We have large internal demand for gas used for heating in our cast houses and anode production, and a hydrogen production facility could be placed near the consumption. For Hydro it would contribute to our target of reducing our own CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030,” Aasheim said.

Hydrogen technologies and their applications have been on Hydro’s agenda multiple times for several decades. Several elements have changed over the last years, lifting the profitability in switching from gas to hydrogen at Hydro’s plants. EU and Norway’s ambitions to decarbonize the economy by 2050 require hydrogen as an important energy carrier, and support schemes are being put in place. Additionally, technology cost is coming down and Norway is suited for hydrogen development and use due to its attractive, renewable power.