Enova has granted a funding commitment of NOK 19.5 million to NorMag AS, for use in construction of a pilot facility for energy and climate-efficient production of magnesium and silica at Herøya. The facility will produce the world’s first CO2-free magnesium.
“The ambition of this project is to create the world’s most efficient and environmentally friendly magnesium production at Herøya,” says Sverre Gotaas, Managing Director of Herøya Industripark AS.
“Our goal is to build the world’s only CO2-free production facility for magnesium, using the infrastructure in the old magnesium factory as a foundation, and pioneering new climate technology as method,” says Gotaas.
Important for the green transition
The production is based on familiar Norwegian natural resources: olivine and electricity. Both products play important roles in implementing the green transition.
The global transportation sector is the primary market, where these products can contribute to lighter automobiles, electric cars and hybrid vehicles, fuel cells for hydrogen, environmentally friendly tires, battery technology, etc.
“This is a very exciting technology step for Norwegian industry. If successful, this could transform the way we currently produce several metals,” says CEO Nils Kristian Nakstad in Enova.
The production technology is expected to result in up to 95% lower CO2 emissions and 60% lower energy consumption in magnesium production, as compared with the current dominant production methods, mainly located in China. The corresponding figures for silica production are 20% lower CO2 emissions and 35% lower energy consumption as compared with existing production methods.
“While magnesium is becoming very important on the road towards a low emission society, we face a major challenge due to the fact that current production takes place with significant emissions. The pilot at Herøya could mark the beginning of a solution to this challenge,” Nakstad emphasizes.
Critically important metal
Magnesium is a very important metal for the European economy. The EU Commission’s report on Critical raw materials defines magnesium as one of 20 critically important metals.
“Securing reliable, sustainable and undistorted access of certain raw materials is of growing concern within the EU and across the globe. Magnesium is one of twenty raw materials identified as critical to the European Union.”, the Commission writes.
Before work on the pilot plant starts, a process is now being implemented to secure financing for the next phase of the project, estimated at NOK 3.4 billion. The total cost of the pilot facility is around NOK 80 million.
Sverre Gotaas says that agreements have been signed with both local and international investors. He takes an optimistic view of the opportunity to secure financing for the next phase, so the pilot can start operations with support from Enova, among others.
The project will be carried out under the direction of Herøya Industripark AS, through the company MagSil, while the company NorMag will be responsible for building and running the facility.
Source: Enova SF / Norway Today