Greenhouse gas emissions - CO₂

By 2030, Elkem's ambition is to increase the share of biocarbon used in our Norwegian smelters to 40%. Furthermore, Elkem shall become a net zero emitter of CO₂ on a global level by 2050. 

Elkem has a clear responsibility to take climate action by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. There are transitional risks and opportunities when it comes to market, technology, regulations and reputation to consider for Elkem. 

Our long-term goal is to achieve carbon neutral metal production. Several R&D projects are in place to develop the necessary technology to reach this goal. Meanwhile, Elkem seeks to reduce fossil CO₂ emissions by increasing raw material yields and replacing fossil coal with biocarbon as a reduction agent in our smelting furnaces. 

We know that further increases will require significant R&D break-throughs and that the economic viability will also become more challenging. However, we are committed to continue our efforts to reach our goal of 40 per cent biocarbon by 2030 in our Norwegian smelters.

We do this by:

  • Continue working to fully understand the COfootprint through better understanding and reporting on our emissions.
  • Increase the use of biocarbon in the raw material mix.
  • Identify and implement energy efficiency measures throughout the value chain

In addition, we are researching how we can produce silicon alloys with no direct CO₂ emissions from the production furnace, by “closing” the furnace so that the off-gas that contains CO₂ can be captured.  See more about the project SiNoCO₂ here.

Most of our smelters are subjects to the EU/ETS system and its external revision schemes. From the start in 2013 Elkem was granted on average 1.2 million free allowances per year as part of the EU system to avoid carbon leakage where production would be moved out of Europe to other countries without carbon trading schemes. When it was identified that smelters in Norway had been allocated fewer free quotas than other countries in Europe, the allocation was appealed. At the end of 2018 a decision was announced increasing the number of free quotas at two of Elkem’s Norwegian smelters.

CO₂

More than 75% of the total direct CO₂-emissions from our production come from the smelting process. As this cannot be measured directly, emissions are calculated based on third party certificates of carbon content (TC) in raw materials (coke and coal). Numbers for CO₂ from other sources, including heating and fuel, are based on standard conversion factors in accordance with EU/ ETS Guidelines.

The total direct fossil CO₂ emissions from our processes was 2.15 million tonnes in 2019, down from 2.54 million tonnes in 2018. The increase in CO₂ emissions over the years prior to 2018 can be related directly to production expansion and acquisitions.

In 2017 Elkem acquired an existing production facility with 2 furnaces in Mo i Rana Norway and in 2018 another plant, Yongdeng, China, with 4 furnaces. As the acquired plants were already in production the acquisitions has not increased Norway’s or China’s total CO₂ emissions.

In addition, Elkem started one smelting furnace in Paraguay giving a national increase in CO₂ emissions in Paraguay. This furnace is however run on hydroelectric power and uses only bio-carbon as a reductant making its operation close to carbon neutral.

As far as net CO₂ emissions are concerned, this is dependent on improved production yield and increasing the amount of reduction materials from non-fossil sources that can be used. Our goal is to reduce our direct fossil carbon footprint in our Norwegian smelters by increasing the share of biocarbon used to 20% by 2021, and to 40% by 2030. We are working with partners to develop efficient and more environmentally friendly production of charcoal to silicon and ferrosilicon production.

CO2 emissions – total

In 2019, Elkem emitted 2.15 million tonnes of fossil CO₂, constituting a 15% decrease from 2018. 

(Million tonnes) 2016 2017 2018 2019
CO₂ emissions 1.49 1.77 2.54 2.15

 

CO₂ emissions – per division
  2019
Elkem Carbon 31,345 tonnes
Elkem Foundry 632,639 tonnes
Elkem Silicon Materials 1,11 million tonnes
Elkem Silicones 370,187 tonnes