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Fives is developing the first CO2 capture solutions for the aluminium industry through a consortium project with Aluminium Dunkerque and Trimet and Rio Tinto

This consortium, which brings together the world's leading expertise to implement an innovative process, aims to achieve a 50% reduction in direct CO2 emissions (excluding energy sources) from primary aluminium production by 2030.

With more than 60 years' experience in the capture and processing of industrial emissions, Fives, an international leader in industrial engineering, has unique expertise to contribute to the production of greener aluminium.

Primary aluminium production accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which corresponds to an average of 16.1 tonnes of CO2 emitted globally per tonne of aluminium produced (in France, the average is less than 5 t/CO2).

A partnership based approach, a key success factor

Fives has been committed to decarbonising industry for over twenty years.

The Fives Group has built its technological leadership in partnership with numerous industrial companies in every sector. After joining forces with the world's leading players in the hydrogen sector, the digitalization of industrial processes and the best research centers, Fives is now extending its partnership approach to carbon capture.

 “Working in partnership guarantees the development of solutions that meet the needs of the field and are tested immediately under real operating conditions. Combining the experts in each technology means that a complete, high-performance solution can be achieved quickly”, Sebastien Gauguier, CEO of the Aluminium Division

  • Aluminium Dunkerque and Trimet in St Jean de Maurienne will be combining their expertise to help develop this technology on their respective sites.
  • Rio Tinto, one of the world's largest aluminium producers, has expertise in the electrolysis process
  • Fives brings its technology for capturing and treating gas emissions from primary aluminium production.

From pilot to industrial phase

The project, which is part of the France 2030 plan, will shortly be submitted to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).

As the first step towards radical decarbonisation, the project comprises two main stages at the Trimet St Jean de Maurienne and Aluminium Dunkerque sites:

  1. 2024-2027: experimentation in test pots and prototype installation
  2. From 2028: industrial deployment of the technology on part of the sites.  The aim is to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030

About the technology

This involves using carbon capture technologies to collect the carbon emitted during the production of primary aluminium in the pots at source.

The aim of the project is to help design, prototype and develop this technology for the aluminium sector. While the carbon capture process has already been tried and tested in various industrial sectors, such as petrochemicals and thermal power stations, it is still at the industrial research stage for aluminium.

Three main steps:

  1. Collection of CO2-laden gases as close as possible to the source of emission in the electrolysis pot. This choice optimizes the concentration rate and the volume of CO2 collected in the flue gas.
  2. Installation of an innovative gas treatment center to purify these gases, which are more concentrated than usual, to make them compatible with the CO2 capture process.
  3. Capture of CO2 using an absorption process with amine solvents.

Focus : Aluminium is a strategic material for the low-carbon transition (lighter, more workable and recyclable).

Aluminium is a strategic material for the low-carbon transition. Its use contributes to the lightening of vehicles, in which its share is expected to grow by 13% between 2014 and 2050. Demand for aluminium in connection with electrification will also increase, as will requirements in the packaging sector, due to the elimination of single-use plastics, its light weight and excellent recyclability. Aluminium is one of the most easily recyclable metals, and fits in perfectly with the development of a circular economy that consumes less energy and resources. Volumes are therefore expected to rise sharply in the coming years.

Read more in the French newspaper L'Usine Nouvelle, La Voix du Nord and on AlCircle website.