The Greener Aluminium Online Summit, a one-day online event, began today, marking its second year of action. Taking place on the 24th May, the event aims to bring together aluminium manufacturers and environmental solutions providers to discuss how the industry must continue to adapt, minimising the impacts associated with production of the metal today, while also developing technological pathways for the future.

Opening the event was Nadine Bloxsome, Editor and Content Director of Aluminium International Today. Setting the scene for the event, she stated, “[the event will] showcase ongoing projects, new technology, investments, and challenges we face together as a sector”, emphasising the need for a united front.

Keynote speaker, Joachim Von Scheele, Global Director of Commercialisation, Linde Technology presented on ‘Flameless Oxyfuel and Hydrogen for Greener Aluminium Production’. Mr Von Scheele discussed the dilemmas that arise when converting to 100% renewable Hydrogen/Oxyfuel. He proposed that companies slowly integrate renewable fuel by implementing a step-by-step strategy, which slowly phases out the use of non-renewable fuel. He presented an example of the first 100% renewable energy fuelled steel plant – OVAKO, where 25 tonnes of ball bearing steel was heated by 100% flameless Oxyfuel with Hydrogen Fuel. This is now being phased to full scale, at the steel company. Linde is now conducting its first large scale test with aluminium following a number of successful small-scale tests.

Presenting next was Dr Fiona Solomon, CEO of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative. Dr Solomon discussed the future of the ASI in the next five years. “Climate actions and risks are front and centre for the industry”; the ASI aims to address all aspects to ensure an accurate assessment of environmental sustainability is made against a company. As well as environmental sustainability, the initiative assesses other sustainability factors to “maximise each other’s [companies] successes”. She announced the ASI’s new Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum (IPAF), which uses qualitative data to assess and ensure social sustainability. Ms Solomon also discussed the new standards that the ASI announced following their five-year review, she disclosed that the ASI will be reviewing their standards more frequently to keep up-to-date with the changes in the industry.

(Image: Right showing delegate list and numbers - 289 delegates*)

Next, Vice President of Alcoa, Rosa M. García Piñeiro presented on ‘The Technology Roadmap to Achieve the Aluminium Industry’s Net Zero Ambitions’. She stated, “[Alcoa is] on journey to reinvent the aluminium industry for a sustainable future”. Ms García Piñeiro outlined Alcoa’s investments where the company strives towards better sustainability. She disclosed that Alcoa have been investing in a R&D project – Refractory of the Future, decarbonisation of aluminium smelting and refining with ELYSIS, and developed recycled scrap aluminium through its project ASTRAEA.

Following the theme of sustainable projects and products, Hans Erik Vatne, Chief Technology Officer at Hydro added: “sustainability is becoming imperative to running a business”. He discussed Hydro’s new green aluminium product: CIRCAL, which contains 75% scrap material (for more information on this topic, take a look at the March/April issue of Aluminium International Today). Mr Vatne also listed Hydro’s research projects: Carbon Capture and Storage- 55 technologies have been implemented and Hydro work with selected companies, Inert anodes experiments - these were investigated as a huge internal project; however, the concept was discarded as it was too high risk and high in cost, support for the development of ELYSIS alongside their peers and more.

Closing the first section of the event, Paramita Das, Global Marketing and Development for Rio Tinto, spoke on ‘Responsible Aluminium: Enabling Modern Life’. Stating, “Green materials need to be more than carbon free”, she discussed the importance of transparency in the industry. Ms Das went on to discuss the 10 point criteria of the START Responsible program that Rio Tinto are involved in, R&D projects like ELYSIS™ and the companies plans to invest $7.5 billion by 2030. “Green aluminium is responsible aluminium… Sustainability is a team sport”.

The Greener Aluminium Summit presentations go on until 18:30 BST (UK). There is still time to join the event. Register now and catch up on all the presentations on demand, as well as gain access to the event platform, networking opportunities and all presentations for 30 days after the event!

*subject to change