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Novelis drives decarbonization at Sierre plant

Novelis and its partners at the R&D laboratory Net Zero Lab Valais have successfully completed the first year of operations.

The Novelis plant in Sierre. The company has approved an investment in a new electrical pusher furnace

Key energy projects aimed at enabling Scope 1 and 2 carbon-neutral production at Novelis’ Sierre plant in Switzerland have been launched.

Electrical pusher furnace saves CO2 emissions

In the first year of the plant’s decarbonization journey with the Net Zero Lab Valais, the company has approved an investment in a new electrical pusher furnace, which will allow the plant to pre-heat sheet ingots with renewable electricity instead of natural gas, saving around 4,500 t CO2e per year and up to 180,000 t CO2e over the furnace’s lifetime.

Waste heat recovery from casting process

In addition, the lab partners completed a project to transfer waste heat from the casting process in Novelis’ plant to the Technopôle – a nearby building complex. The energy supply, corresponding to a power of around 200 kW, covers about one-third of Technopôle’s total energy demand. Novelis and Oiken, a local energy provider and lab partner, intend to further expand this energy ecosystem with the goal to supply a substantial part of the Sierre region’s energy demand before 2030. 

“This lighthouse project brings to life our holistic decarbonization approach toward a net zero production,” says Emilio Braghi, president of Novelis Europe. “Additionally, it makes us very proud to see that beyond this important mission, we are also adding value to our surrounding communities and further expanding our position as a sustainability frontrunner and attractive employer.”

Study on optimized energy sourcing

Modelling an optimized system for the plant’s energy sourcing, conversion and reuse is the goal of an ongoing systemic study that began with the launch of Net Zero Lab Valais in 2022. The focus is to replace fossil-based energy sources with carbon neutral ones rather than offsetting carbon emissions through credits. First models and results will be released in May this year.

“Three decarbonization projects by the Net Zero Lab Valais were rewarded with funds by the Swiss government, which allowed us to expand the size of the team,” says plant manager Serge Gaudin. 

About Net Zero Lab Valais

The ultimate goal of research and projects coming out of the Net Zero Lab Valais is to find ways Novelis can reach carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 emissions at the Sierre plant by 2030, and then extend them to our other plants around the world. The company has targets to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 % by 2026, and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner. Net Zero Lab Valais was launched in February 2022 as a long-term collaboration agreement of Novelis with Oiken and HES-SO Valais-Wallis, in collaboration with EPFL. 

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