Aluminum smelter in Voerde once again producing at full capacityDr. Hans-Ulrich Krüger in talk with Dr. Martin Iffert
Just two years after the takeover by TRIMET, the aluminum smelter in Voerde has again attained its maximum production capacity. For the first time in over five years, Voerde is again producing at full throttle. The 188 electrolytic furnaces have an annual capacity of 95,000 tons of aluminum. “The restarting of the last electrolysis cells is the result of a great team effort and is a clear signal for the future of the location. Voerde is firmly anchored in the TRIMET family. Together with our recycling plant in Gelsenkirchen and the aluminum smelter in Essen, the location forms a productive aluminum triangle and works well together with local partners,” said Iffert, TRIMET’s CEO.
“TRIMET’s aluminum smelter is a key employer and economic factor in Voerde. After facing great challenges a few years ago, it is now writing a new chapter in its success story, with good prospects for the employees and for the industrial location. I am glad that the efforts have paid off,” Krüger said.
A total of 291 employees – including ten trainees in technical and commercial professions – work in the aluminum smelter and anode factory. Five more young people will start their training at TRIMET this summer.
Iffert stressed the importance of a secure, reliable, and competitive supply of electricity for the production facilities and pointed to the contribution of the energy-intensive primary industry in implementing the energy turnaround. “As an industrial plant that is always connected to the grid, the aluminum smelter can collect power from wind and solar power plants at any time. And it can always be turned off if the grid so requires. In the last twelve months alone, TRIMET’s electrolysis plants were briefly disconnected from the grid more than 30 times to stabilize the power supply,” Iffert said. In addition, TRIMET is testing a method for flexible control of the energy supply in aluminum production. This has allowed the aluminum smelter to become the energy storage facility of the network, acting as a balance between fluctuating power generation and demand-based energy consumption.
In May 2014, TRIMET had taken over the insolvent aluminum smelter in Voerde with approximately 280 employees and has since continuously increased the production capacity. Among other uses, the ultrapure aluminum produced in Voerde is processed into sophisticated cast alloys. Carbon anodes are also produced at the location, which are needed in the electrolysis process.