Novelis Inc and its partners at the research and development laboratory Net Zero Lab Valais, have announced that they have successfully completed the first year of operations, launching key energy projects aimed at enabling scope 1 and 2 carbon neutral production at Novelis´ Sierre plant in Switzerland.

In the first year of the plant’s decarbonisation journey with the Net Zero Lab Valais, the company has approved an investment in a new electrical pusher furnace, which will allow the plant to pre-heat sheet ingots with renewable electricity instead of natural gas, saving around 4,500t CO2eq per year and up to 180,000 CO2eq over the furnace’s lifetime.

In addition, the lab partners completed a project to transfer waste heat from the casting process in Novelis´ plant to the Technopôle – a nearby building complex. The energy supply, corresponding to a power of around 200 KW, covers about one-third of Technopôle’s total energy demand. Novelis and OIKEN, a local energy provider and lab partner, intend to further expand this energy ecosystem with the goal to supply a substantial part of the Sierre region´s energy demand before 2030.

“This lighthouse project brings to life our holistic decarbonisation approach toward a net zero production,” says Emilio Braghi, Executive Vice President, Novelis Inc., and President, Novelis Europe. “Additionally, it makes us very proud to see that beyond this important mission, we are also adding value to our surrounding communities and further expanding our position as a sustainability frontrunner and attractive employer.”

Modelling an optimised system for the plant´s energy sourcing, conversion, and reuse is the goal of an ongoing systemic study that began with the launch of Net Zero Lab Valais in 2022. The focus is to replace fossil-based energy sources with carbon neutral ones rather than offsetting carbon emissions through credits. First models and results will be released in May this year.

“Three decarbonisation projects by the Net Zero Lab Valais were rewarded with funds by the Swiss government, which allowed us to expand the size of the team,” says Serge Gaudin, Plant Manager, Novelis Sierre, and Director, Automotive Operations, Novelis Europe. “It's amazing to see the extraordinary results of this interdisciplinary, talented team and to know that this is just the beginning of our journey.”
The ultimate goal of research and projects coming out of the Net Zero Lab Valais is to find ways Novelis can reach carbon neutrality for scope 1 and 2 emissions at our Sierre plant by 2030, and then extend them to our other plants around the world. The multitude of decarbonisation projects underlines Novelis' ambitious sustainability goals. The company has targets to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2026, and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner. Beyond its focus on energy efficiency initiatives and recycling, Novelis will continue to seek opportunities to decarbonize its operations by converting to renewable energy sources.