ALDEL - Damco Aluminium Delfzijl Coöperatie U.A.

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“We are no longer the polluting company Aldel was before”

The contrast is huge. Six years ago Aldel lost a month long death struggle. Two restarts later, the aluminum smelter from Delfzijl is working on an ambitious greening plan. How a highly polluting industry wants to become perhaps the world’s greenest aluminum producer.

Damco wants to invest tens of millions in a ten-year plan to build up a factory in Delfzijl that runs on sun and wind, offers no CO2 emissions and uses a lot of scrap aluminium.

Aldel is actually no longer called Aldel. A completely new organization is concealed behind the new name Damco Aluminum Delfzijl. After the bankruptcy in 2013 and the arrival of the American investor York Capital, new management has been set up, hundreds of people have been hired.

Communications strategist Gilbert Weber has flown in to show the new face of the company to the outside world.

We are working on a new awareness of Damco, he says. “The public but certainly also politicians should be more aware of what Damco is today. We are no longer the energy-guzzling and polluting company .”

That sounds nice. But isn’t Damco ramping up the number of pots to produce aluminium? And isn’t that polluting? “Yes, at this moment we are updating the site and restarting the productionprocess”, Weber answers. But at the same time we would like to take a look into the future, a “green future”.

When Gilbert speaks with his colleagues about the green future, They ask him frequently:

“Is it not just enough to produce our aluminum?” The answer is no, it is not longer enough. Our fixed costs, especially for electricity, are high. Comparing to other companies in Scandinavia, Russia or China, this affects our competitiveness. We have to do something. Besides that, we want to show that our record of polluter is no longer correct.”

Damco is therefore working on a ten-year plan in three phases. At this moment the last pots are restarting. “After that we will start reducing CO2 emissions for four years. Carbon dioxide is already being extracted in our system. We are heading towards a situation where we capture and process all the CO2 on our site as a raw material for other products.”

At the same time, Damco wants to look for ways to save energy and take advantage of wind and solar energy. “ We are investigating whether we can purchase our electricity directly from suppliers of solar and wind energy. At the same time, we have access to no less than 4 acres of roof. We are discussing the possibility of installing solar roofpanels.”

At the same time, it is possible to depend production on the available electricity, Weber says. “If there is a large supply of solar and wind energy, we can increase production. If there is less electricity, we will produce less. Yes, we can switch on and off and still meet the demand for aluminum. In fact, the company is therefore a huge virtual battery. It is possible to halt production temporarily. In the event of a power failure, the electricity we do not need can be used to get the grid going again.”

Finally, Damco says it would like to recycle more aluminium. According to the company, aluminium is a metal that is very suitable to be used again and again. “ There is no loss of value. Moreover, recycling aluminium requires hardly any energy. We want to invest in an installation that can convert scrap into first-class aluminum and think about the supply of material. Yes, for example, cans of soft drinks returning to us through supermarkets for recycling. That way soft drinks in cans are sustainable.” Damco likes to keep pace with the climate goals of the government. In 2030 the company wants to be one of the greenest in the business. “Whether it all works out? We’ll have to see. The momentum is certainly there. The vision and ambition too.”