Decarbonisation options for the Dutch aluminium industry

04-06-2019 | Rapport

This report on decarbonisation options for the aluminium industry is part of the MIDDEN project (Manufacturing Industry Decarbonisation Data Exchange Network) initiated by PBL and ECN part of TNO. The project aims to support industry, policymakers, analysts and the energy sector in their common efforts to achieve deep decarbonisation.

Aluminium production in the Netherlands

This report describes the current situation for aluminium production in the Netherlands and the options and preconditions for its decarbonisation. In the Netherlands, three main types of activities in aluminium manufacturing can be distinguished. Primary aluminium production from aluminium oxide in the Netherlands is located at Aldel, in the Dutch city of Delfzijl. The largest secondary aluminium producers, using mostly scrap, are E-MAX in Kerkrade and Zalco in Vlissingen. Aluchemie in Rotterdam and Century in Vlissingen are the producers of prebaked carbon anodes for the primary aluminium electrolysis process.

Decarbonisation options

Decarbonisation in the aluminium industry can be achieved from multiple perspectives, ranging from options focused on improving the energy efficiency (EE) of current technologies, to options that introduce new innovative concepts. On-site decarbonisation options consist of carbon-neutral fuels, such as green gas or hydrogen in the melting and anode-baking furnaces. Electric furnaces are also considered, but would require further development. At these sites, the non-fuel-process carbon emissions related to anode baking, anode consumption and melting of contaminated scrap are important sources of direct emissions, which are not so easy to avoid. New processes using inert anodes instead of carbon anodes are now being developed. At Aldel, this could avoid the process emissions of both CO2 and PFCs.

Mapping decarbonisation options is an ongoing process. The MIDDEN project will update and elaborate further on options in the future, in close connection with the industry.