Hydro is entering a new development stage for its HalZero production technology. The company will invest in a test facility supported by the Norwegian government. With this step, Hydro claims they are on track to deliver pilot production of zero-carbon primary aluminium by 2030.

HalZero is a brand new process for production of primary aluminium. Instead of carbon dioxide, only oxygen is emitted from the process. If Hydro succeeds in this development, it could revolutionize the aluminium industry.

"The development of HalZero is our most groundbreaking technology initiative ever. This could be the first industrial production of primary aluminum without greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The plan is ambitious, and there is considerable risk. Therefore, we depend on the authorities to join us on the road to make a major investment," says Eivind Kallevik, Executive Vice President for Hydro Aluminium Metal.

Decarbonizing industrial sectors is one of the most important contributions to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Hydro has been working on early phase development of the HalZero technology at Hydro’s Technology Center in Porsgrunn, Norway for seven years. The Norwegian government, via state enterprise Enova, has granted NOK 141 million for the construction of a test facility. The total investment is expected to be approximately NOK 400 million.

"The technology that Hydro is developing here can contribute to significant emission reductions for the aluminium industry both in Norway and in other countries. Enova supports companies that take a lead in decarbonizing industry, and we believe that HalZero can contribute strongly to reducing emissions from the aluminium industry," says Kristian Nakstad, CEO in Enova.

Zero-carbon aluminium has properties that are essential in the green shift. The metal is light and is weather resistant, which is significant for, among other things, electric cars, building facades and solar panels.

"We know that demand for aluminium will increase, and aluminium without CO2 emissions will mean a lot for the climate goals. Today, the aluminium industry accounts for 2 percent of the world's CO2 emissions. We are aware of our responsibility and we want to take the lead in developing zero-emission technology for aluminium production," says Kallevik.

Development of HalZero is part of Hydro's technology roadmap to reduce the emissions associated with aluminum production. HalZero is primarily suited for new production capacity. Hydro is working in parallel to develop carbon capture and storage for its existing aluminum smelters while increasing the use of renewable electricity and testing green hydrogen in the value chain.

“The aluminium industry needs optionality to increase our chances of reaching net zero by 2050. Working on several decarbonization routes in parallel increases our chances of success and the speed at which we will be able to reach our ambitious climate targets,” says Kallevik

Facts about the HalZero project

  • HalZero is a new production process for primary aluminum that emits oxygen instead of carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • In the HalZero process, alumina is chlorinated and becomes aluminum chloride in a process that also produces carbon dioxide. Instead of releasing the CO2 to the atmosphere, it is sent back into the process and reused in the chemical reaction in a closed loop. This makes the electrolysis process completely greenhouse gas emission free.
  • The HalZero process differs significantly from the current production of primary aluminum and is being developed for use in new production facilities.