Message from our CEO 2019
New technology has contributed to reducing Elkem's NOₓ emissions by 13% since 2015. Sustainability remains a fundamental pillar as our improvement efforts continues with full force in 2020.
Elkem is among the world’s most environmentally friendly manufacturers of silicon-based materials. At the same time, Elkem, like the rest of the process industry, emits climate gasses through the production processes because there are no viable technological alternatives today. Our products are a very important part of the solution for the low carbon society that is necessary to combat climate change at the same time as we understand that we have some sustainability challenges that we must manage.
Setting ambitious, but achievable sustainability goals is important to Elkem, and we are taking initiatives to improve every year. By applying new technology developed by Elkem’s experts at several of our furnaces, NOₓ emissions have been reduced by 13% since 2015. In 2020, two additional furnace upgrades will be completed, targeting a reduction of Elkem’s NOₓ emissions by an additional 10 percentage points. For reducing fossil CO₂ emissions Elkem continues to increase the amount of bio-carbon used as a reductant in its silicon and ferrosilicon production and has for the first time in Elkem’s history run a furnace close to 100 percent on sustainable biocarbon in Paraguay. Simultaneously, electrical energy input for most of our furnaces is produced with renewable hydro power. Later this year the new energy recovery plant at Elkem Salten will allow us to recover enough heat energy from furnace off-gas to generate 275 GWh per year of new electricity from heat that was previously wasted, equal to 15,000 Norwegian household´s electricity consumption. This increases resource-use efficiency and secures greater adoption of clean and environmentally friendly energy.
Globally all plants are continuously working to reduce waste and dust emissions. At the Yongdeng plant in China we continue to invest substantially in dust reduction, and at the group level Elkem targets a 30% reduction in dust by 2025. In addition to efforts to make our production processes more environmentally friendly and sustainable, Elkem’s ferrosilicon, silicon, carbon and silicones products are important in the development of the solar and wind industry and are also significant components within the battery industry. Specialty silicones products contribute to prolonging the life of thousands of other products, thereby reducing waste and the need for replacements.
These are essential examples of Elkem’s work to promote sustainable industrialisation, foster innovation and combat climate change. Recognising Elkem’s efforts and position as part of the solution, the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries asked Elkem in 2018 to chair Process21, a threeyear project that will give the Norwegian government strategic advice on how the process industry can reach the goal of increased value creation with zero emissions in 2050. Process21 will submit its recommendations in December 2020.
Last and not least, health and safety continue to be one of Elkem’s core pillars. Decent working conditions and healthy and productive employees are key in order to promote economic development and growth. Without safety, we can forget about all the rest. A zero-harm workplace protecting labour rights will continue to be our organisation’s main focus. Fundamentally we have a good status, but we must always continue in our efforts to improve further.
Michael Koenig CEO, Elkem ASA