Hydro’s new facility is located in the heart of a growing can market, as Europeans now are using more than 30 billion cans a year. This equates to 450,000 tonnes of used beverage cans (UBC) to recycle.
Waste for some, ‘silver’ gold for others, Hydro turns this urban-mined resource into material for new can tabs, ends and bodies, closing the recycling loop. Countries collect cans in various systems, where collected the bulk often contains impurities and other materials than aluminium.
“Hydro’s facility in Neuss is the first to adopt a patented, advanced sorting technology for used beverage cans, able to process collected aluminium material with up to 20 per cent impurities – making the new recycling line the best place to be for any used beverage can,” said Hydro president and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg.
With the new used beverage can line, Hydro further optimises its sourcing of metal for subsequent fabrication. Its rolled products for packaging help protect food and medicine, while automotive body sheet allows for lighter and more efficient cars and other applications secure functionality and resource efficiency.
Used beverage can recycling in Neuss will save 350,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, compared to use of primary aluminium. Energy needed to produce primary aluminium for one can is enough to recycle aluminium for 20 cans.
“With the new recycling line, we offer our international customers a closed recycling loop, literally turning old cans into new ones. This underlines our commitment to international can makers as a close, responsible partner, and a leader in technology,” said executive vice president Kjetil Ebbesberg at the opening ceremony.
Ebbesberg and Brandtzæg officially opened the used beverage can line together with federal minister Hermann Gröhe and Northrhine-Westphalian economy minister Garrelt Duin, who lauded Hydro for the most efficient value chain set up in the Rhineland region and for growing investment.
Since 2002, Hydro has invested more than €1 billion into the German economy. Adding to the used beverage can line, an upcoming automotive line in the Grevenbroich plant, an investment of €130 million will boost capacity for car body sheet by additional 150,000 tonnes later in 2016. Furthermore, the hot mill at the Alunorf joint venture in Neuss, said to be the world’s largest plant for rolling and remelting of aluminium, has been modernised and expanded for EUR 80 million.
The newly designed technology at the used beverage can plant in Neuss underlines Hydro’s position as a leader in the recycling sector. The sensor technology for sorting and separating the different types of used metal is based on Hydro’s own patented technology, and was tailored for used beverage can recycling in Hydro’s Research and Development centre in Bonn.
Hydro aims to become climate neutral by 2020. The next step towards this happens in June in Clervaux, Luxembourg. Hydro’s aluminium remelting plant there is thoroughly revamped for €15 million and will start recycling used aluminium products, turning them into new extrusion ingot for building and construction.
The used beverage can recycling line in Neuss has created 40 new jobs at Hydro Neuss, now with a workforce of around 700. In Germany, Hydro employs around 6,000 people at its direct and joint venture operations, and has achieved a turnover of €1.3 billion in 2015.
Hydro’s business area Rolled Products has shipped 948,000 tonnes in 2015, with a turnover of EUR 2.3 billion.