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Hindalco’s clean energy initiative gains momentum

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India’s biggest aluminium manufacturing company and the world’s largest flat-rolled products player and recycler of aluminium, Hindalco Industries, is intensifying its focus on sustainability initiatives.

Hindalco Industries aims to attain 30% of its energy mix from renewable sources by 2030, facilitated by the successful completion of phase one of its pumped hydro project. Additionally, the company is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Once the first phase of the pumped hydro project comes onstream, we believe it will pave the way for using this technology across our smelters and achieving 30% of our energy mix from renewable sources by 2030.

Last quarter, we reported 19.6 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of aluminium, and we believe in bringing it down below four, which is considered green if this pumped hydro plant works.

Aluminium, not occurring naturally in its pure form, undergoes extraction due to its energy-intensive production and refinement processes, which significantly contribute to global carbon emissions. Smelting, particularly, stands out for its high carbon emissions and reliance on continuous power supply. In 2022, Hindalco partnered with the Greenko Group to generate 375-400 MW of solar and wind power capacity to mitigate its environmental footprint.

The RE project is to be set up as a captive generation facility under a 25-year offtake arrangement and will supply power to Hindalco’s Aditya Aluminium smelter in Odisha, enabling a reduction of CO2 emissions by 680,000 tonnes annually.

The company intends to expand its current 100 MW pumped hydro project in Odisha to 350 MW in the future. This initiative establishes the groundwork for generating low-carbon, environmentally friendly aluminium. Additionally, there are plans to implement a comparable solar project with pumped hydrogen for its Madhya Pradesh smelter, facilitated by Aditya Birla Renewables.

Additionally, the company is utilising 2.87 million tonnes of red mud, 100% recycled, at three out of four of its alumina refineries. 84% of the waste generated is recycled, and our target is to have zero waste landfills by 2030. We are spending north of ₹400 crore in a year. We are also testing the use of red mud in road construction across India.

Hindalco is undertaking a pilot initiative for carbon dioxide sequestration via advanced mineralisation techniques. The company is exploring methods to capture carbon and incorporate it into construction aggregates or ready-mix concrete (RMC).

Sequestering in India is hard to work out. You have to mineralise it or make it into something that does not go back into the atmosphere, but we are putting in and have quite a few projects that we are looking at different angles to progress that.

In the fiscal year 2023, Novelis, the overseas subsidiary, recycled 82 billion used beverage cans (UBC), equivalent to 61% of the material utilised in production. Moreover, it engages in partnerships with prominent automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), aiming to potentially decrease carbon emissions by 100,000 tonnes annually. The company allocates 25% of its ₹2,000 crore maintenance capital expenditure towards sustainability initiatives annually.

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