More electricity from the world’s oldest energy recovery plant

Energy recovery - Elkem AS - Elkem AS
With support from Enova Elkem is expanding and upgrading the energy recovery plant in Bjølvefossen, which has been in operation since 1977. The investment means that the plant will increase the energy recovered from around 50 to 80 GWh per year. The electricity generated is fed into the grid.

The energy recovery plant in Bjølvefossen is to undergo a significant rebuild that aims to both improve energy efficiency and ensure that the plant complies with new statutory requirements. The project has a budget of NOK 116 million. The extensive upgrade of the plant started in October 2014 and is expected to be completed in February 2016. The plan for the plant is to generate 77 GWh by then. The electricity generated will be fed into the grid and cover the power consumed by around 4,000 Norwegian households.


When Bjølvefossen’s energy recovery plant was constructed in 1977, it was the world’s first in the industry. Bjølvefossen has recovered energy from both of its furnaces since 1982. Energy prices at the time were very low, which made energy recovery not very profitable. Jon Kildahl, who was the managing director at the plant from 1981-1987, explains the background for the remarkable decision to make the investment back in 1974: ‘The authority’s order to scrub emissions from chimneys meant that the plant had to be modified. At the same time, the oil crisis in 1973 was an eye opener for the world for the need to improve energy consumption. Since the plant was going to be rebuilt, it was natural to try to find solutions in which the energy is used. For Elkem’s part, the expectation of changes in the Norwegian power regime, with the end of state power contracts, was an important factor in the decision to make the investment.