TRIMET to heat smelting furnaces with hydrogen-rich coke oven gas


TRIMET Aluminium SE will run its Gelsenkirchen production plant with hydrogen-rich energy gas in the future. Switching to this climate-friendly fuel is part of a basic conversion program under which the materials specialist is expanding its recycling plant for climate-neutral production in the long term.

TRIMET’s recycling plant in Gelsenkirchen is expected to start drawing hydrogen-rich energy gas from Uniper Energy Sales from the ArcelorMittal coking plant in Bottrop as early as September 2023 to generate process heat for its smelting furnaces. The coke oven gas produced during coke production contains more than 60% hydrogen and therefore releases significantly less CO2 emissions than fossil natural gas. TRIMET can use the current infrastructure to transport the environmentally-friendly energy source: the coke oven gas is transported through existing gas pipelines from Bottrop, around 15 kilometers away, to the Gelsenkirchen city port. Only the last 700 meters will require the installation of a new pipeline. The new fuel will save the company about 4,000 tons of CO2 annually at the Gelsenkirchen site, or around one-quarter of the carbon dioxide emissions currently generated. This investment will enable the future use of hydrogen as a fuel, as long as it is commercially available. 

The measure is part of a comprehensive restructuring program through which the materials specialist is expanding its recycling operations.

“Demand for recycled aluminium will continue to rise in the future. For that reason, we are continually making investments in capacity expansion and plant modernization,” says Thomas Reuther, member of the Executive Board of TRIMET Aluminium SE.

This includes further steps toward more sustainable production. “We would like to become the greenest aluminium recycling plant in Europe,” says Reuther. Various resource and energy efficiency projects are being planned or have already been implemented. For example, all forklifts have been converted to electric power. TRIMET will use the waste heat from the smelting furnaces to generate electricity for its own use and also feed around 20 gigawatt hours into the public district heating network. Solar cells spanning an area of 3,000 square meters on the production and storage hall roofs will cover the site’s remaining electricity requirements, making the recycling plant self-sufficient in terms of its power supply. The family business is investing a sum in the double-digit million range for the conversion and expansion of its production capacity.