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Hydro and MIT work to fine-tune aluminium recycling

Norway / USA – Scandinavian producer Hydro has entered into an agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA to develop modelling and analyses with the aim of optimising the recycling of aluminium.

Hydro runs a total of 19 aluminium remelting plants in Asia, the Americas and Europe. At a growing number of these facilities, Hydro is focusing on recycling in addition to the remelting of process scrap. In 2010, the company remelted more than 1 million tonnes of aluminium, of which around 260 000 tonnes was recycled from packaging, building products and automotive parts, among other sources. Its strategy is to increase its recycling volumes considerably over the current decade to 1 million tonnes per year. To this end, Hydro plans to build a new recycling centre at Karmøy in western Norway.

‘Recycling as effectively and profitability as possible can be a new, important competitive advantage for Hydro as an integrated aluminium company,’ says company researcher Hans Ole Riddervold. ‘Post-consumed material comes from many different sources, consists of a number of different alloys, and the composition of scrap varies over time.The question is: How can we plan and handle this as effectively and profitability as possible?’

Hydro’s response has been to link up with MIT for a research project which builds on a 20-year history of co-operation between the two. Helge Jansen, Head of R&D within Hydro’s Extruded Products business, comments: ‘We have a lot of faith in this project. Among other things, we want to find how “problems” in the form of various alloys can be turned into advantages in the handling of recycled materials.’

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