Elkem Foundry plant based on biocarbon opens in Paraguay

In August, Elkem celebrated the opening of a new ferrosilicon plant in Limpio, Paraguay, with a production based on local and sustainable biocarbon together with hydropower from the Itaipu power plant.

Opening of Elkem Limpio

Focusing on sustainability and the future of ferrosilicon production with neutral emissions of CO₂, the plant reached its goal of using 100% biocarbon as reductant for the furnace in 2019. Read the press release here.

Biocarbon in the form of charcoal and woodchips are sustainable carbon sources replacing fossil coal. All thebiocarbon is harvested and produced locally, from sustainable eucaluptus plantations, so no native woods are deforested.

The quartz, another raw material, is also being extracted and processed locally giving a low CO₂ footprint.

At the celebration ceremony in August, the President of Paraguay, Mr. Mario Abdo Benitez, made the official opening of the plant, celebrating with employees of the plant, local business and politicians and top management of Elkem.

“This is a big day for all of Elkem. To open a brand new plant in Latin America is an important milestone for us. Also, Elkem’s long term goal is to achieve carbon neutral metal production. The Limpio plant challenges and inspires the rest of the company to meet our climate and sustainability strategies”, says Helge Aasen, CEO of Elkem.

Limpio is 25 km from Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, and is strategically situation to serve the iron and steel industry in the region. The plant is the first foundry plant for Elkem in Latin-America. The plant has about 100 employees and 1 arc-furnace with 11.5MW-15MVA, which generates an annual capacity of 11,000 metric tonnes.

“Limpio is a pioneer plant within Elkem and in Paraguay. It is the first foundry Elkem plant in Latin America, the first 100% biocarbon fed plant in Elkem globally and it is the first ferroalloy industry in the country”, says Osvaldo Almeida, General Manager of Elkem Paraguay.

This article was first published in Elkem's sustainability report 2018.