Being a keynote speaker at the Agder H2 Network meeting this week, Aasen welcomed the construction of a new hydrogen plant at Elkem’s industrial site in Kristiansand.
“Hydrogen will be both an energy carrier and an input factor in industrial processes. Elkem sees many opportunities for the utilization of hydrogen in more sustainable silicon production processes, with reduced emissions,” Aasen said.
Elkem has a long tradition of improving production processes and developing new value chains. Circular economy and environmental issues are high on the agenda. Driven by research and development, Elkem aims to cut carbon emissions by 28 percent by 2031. Every tenth employee in the global group works in R&D centers in Lyon, Shanghai and Kristiansand.
With a turnover of NOK 46 billion in 2022, Elkem is a world-leading supplier of metals and minerals that play an important role in the green transition. One example is silicon, which is a key component in electric cars.
“Elkem is planning a new factory at Herøya for production of anode material for the growing battery industry. A new and revolutionary production technology will contribute to profitable production,” said Aasen.
Elkem has several ongoing hydrogen projects. In Bremanger, Elkem received an Enova grant to develop hydrogen from silicon production. In Rana, Elkem develops a method for producing green methanol using hydrogen and captured carbon.
“Another exciting project is the H2Si innovation program. It involves using hydrogen for CO2 purification of the exhaust gases from silicon production. Carbon is recycled using hydrogen. Our goal is to industrialize the concept and achieve carbon-neutral silicon production by 2050,” says Aasen.
If Elkem succeeds, the environmental benefits will be huge. CO2 emissions from Elkem’s Norwegian smelters alone are 1.5 million tons per year.