Novelis Inc signed a long-term collaboration agreement with HES-SO Valais-Wallis in collaboration with EPFL of Energypolis Campus, a Swiss innovation and research hub, as well as energy distributor OIKEN, to start a joint research and development (R&D) laboratory to advance carbon neutral solutions for aluminium manufacturing.
The R&D lab, named Net Zero Lab Valais, will be located at Novelis' plant in Sierre, Switzerland. The Sierre site, the broader Valais region and Switzerland itself are an ideal fit for the planned initiatives due to the availability of renewable energy and strong research institutions, as well as a firm commitment to sustainability. The work of the lab will focus on identifying and implementing innovative solutions to neutralize the carbon footprint of Novelis' manufacturing operations and neighboring communities, starting in Sierre. The aim is to reach carbon neutrality for scope 1 and 2 emissions at the plant by 2030.
"As the industry leader and the world's largest aluminium recycler, Novelis is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner," said Pierre Labat, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer, Novelis Inc. "This partnership underscores that commitment and we expect the research to allow for greater innovation in advancing our efforts to create a sustainable world together."
Throughout the first months of collaboration, the Net Zero Lab Valais will conduct a research study to identify decarbonisation solutions and will launch an ecosystem by which Novelis, in collaboration with OIKEN, will share the energy from its Sierre plant with the surrounding area. This will help lower the area's carbon footprint, as well as the carbon footprint of the manufacturing site.
"We are working relentlessly on reducing all emissions at our sites, in our supply chain and in the energy we use," said Emilio Braghi, Executive Vice President, Novelis Inc. and President, Novelis Europe. "The Net Zero Lab Valais is another lever for increasing energy efficiency, reducing waste and supporting our communities. We will develop innovative solutions that we can later implement on a broader scale at our different production sites across the globe, while we simultaneously continue to work on increasing the recycled content in our products to deliver the lowest total carbon footprint for aluminium sheet. We are very proud to have such strong and experienced partners as HES-SO Valais-Wallis, EPFL and OIKEN at our side to drive carbon neutral production."
"We are excited about kicking-off this laboratory for applied research activities and to find solutions for reducing CO2 emissions in the aluminium industry," said François Seppey, Director of HES-SO Valais-Wallis. "Sustainable development is at the heart of the strategy of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis. The competences within our energy and environment research institute perfectly meet the challenges of this collaboration with Novelis. Not only are the employees knowledgeable and passionate about sustainability, the plant also includes all manufacturing steps in the aluminium production process and a R&D centre, which will support meaningful research. This lab will be an ideal ecosystem to develop outstanding skills for early career engineers and enhance their contribution to the decarbonisation of the whole industry in the near future."
"The Net Zero Lab Valais is a model for joining efforts between research and industry to decrease the carbon footprint of a region and understanding symbiosis between industrial activities and the energy system," said Professor François Marechal, Head of Industrial Process and Energy Systems Engineering group in EPFL. "The same time, it will give early career talented engineers the chance to gain valuable insights and knowledge in applied and fundamental research."
"The Net Zero Lab Valais is an important initiative to help decarbonize the region," said François Fellay, CEO of OIKEN. "In addition, by supplying waste heat into the future district heating system, Novelis' manufacturing site will also become a major contributor to our low carbon energy system."
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