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Multi-Model Assessment for Secondary Smelting Decarbonisation: The Role of Hydrogen in the Clean Energy Transition


Extensive decarbonisation efforts result in major changes in energy demand for the extractive industry. In 2021, the extraction and primary processing of metals and minerals accounted for 4.5 Gt of CO2 eq. per year. The aluminium industry was responsible for 1.1 Gt CO2 eq. direct and indirect emissions. To reach the European milestone of zero emissions by 2050, a reduction of 3% annually is essential. To this end, the industry needs to take a turn towards less impactful production practices, coupling secondary production with green energy sources. The present work aims to comprehensively compare the lifecycle energy consumption and environmental performance of a secondary aluminium smelter employing alternative thermal and electricity sources. In this frame, a comparative analysis of the environmental impact of different thermal energy sources, namely natural gas, light fuel oil, liquified petroleum gas, hydrogen and electricity, for a secondary aluminium smelter is presented. The results show that H2 produced by renewables (green H2 ) is the most environmentally beneficial option, accounting for −84.156 kg CO2 eq. By producing thermal energy as well as electricity on site, H2 technologies also serve as a decentralized power station for green energy production. These technologies account for a reduction of 118% compared to conventionally used natural gas. The results offer a comprehensive overview to aid decision-makers in comparing environmental impacts caused by different energy sources.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Greece

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