For six years, Hydro’s technologists have worked to develop a breakthrough technology for primary aluminium production. The proprietary HalZero technology is based on converting alumina to aluminium chloride prior to electrolysis in a process where chlorine and carbon are kept in a closed loop and where the only emission is oxygen. Carbon and chlorine are recycled and reused again and again, thus eliminating emissions of CO2 and emitting oxygen instead. The Hydro HalZero technology will fully decarbonise aluminum smelting, eliminating emissions from electrolysis and anode baking, resulting in emission-free aluminium.
Hydro’s goal is to have an industrial-scale pilot up and running by 2030, making the HalZero technology viable for implementation in new electrolysis capacity from 2030 onwards. Significant research is still required to mature the HalZero process toward industrialisation. Hydro technologists have succeeded in modeling and verifying the HalZero process at the research and development laboratory in Porsgrunn, Norway. The results of the initial test phase were promising, and the process design studies have shown that an industrial-scale HalZero plant will have power consumption and operating expenditure about the same as current electrolysis technology. Capital expenditure is expected to be comparable to new conventional smelter capacity. The HalZero process will be applicable for greenfield aluminium plants or brownfield replacement of obsolete potlines, where the smelter infrastructure can be reused.