Norðurál 30 April 2017

Fluoride emissions, % of Permit
(kg/t Al)

The World's most sustainable aluminum

Demand for Icelandic aluminium is increasing among manufacturers that want to reduce the carbon emissions of their product, as the production of aluminium is nowhere as environmentally friendly as here.

The power used by aluminium companies around the globe is mostly not recyclable and is accompanied by high emissions of greenhouse gases. In Iceland, the carbon emissions resulting from energy production is up to ten times less. With green energy and outstanding manufacturing technology, Icelanders contribute greatly to the global fight against pollution.

Carbon emissions resulting from the operations of Norðurhál are subject to the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and must adhere to its rules and reach the set objectives for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.


Decreased Emissions Allowances with Increased Production

Norðurál’s aluminum plant in Grundartangi has an operations license for producing up to 350 thousand tons of aluminum per year. A new license was issued by The Environment Agency of Iceland in 2015 and it expires on 16 December 2031. According to the new license the company’s emissions allowances for fluoride and sulphur have been reduced.

In the new operating license of Norðurál the allowable emissions have been reduced from 0,5 kg to 0,47 kg/t on average per year if the yearly production is under 320 thousand tons. If the yearly production is more than 320 thousand tons the allowable emissions are reduced even further to 0,43 kg/t.


Green Accounting and Environmental Monitoring

Green Accounting is a thorough register over all materials brought to the aluminum plant and delivered from it. Our aim is to limit the use of materials as much as possible and illustrate how undesirable materials are disposed of. This is the purpose of green accounting.

Environmental monitoring entails research and monitoring of 109 environmental factors in and surrounding the area of Hvalfjörður. The purpose is to ensure that the operations of Norðurál and other businesses in the area are not harmful to the environment.

The environmental monitoring is conducted by independent monitoring parties and the results have unequivocally demonstrated that Norðurál’s operations meet all the criteria stipulated in the operating license and regulations.

The Process

600.542 tons Al2O3

The production process of aluminum really isn’t that complicated. Aluminum is an element that’s almost unknown in nature unless bound with other substances such as oxygen. We use aluminum oxide — oxygenated aluminum, or AL203 — a fine-grained powder which is imported to Grundartangi by sea and transported into the plant in a closed-off system.

1. Aluminum oxide (Al2O3), electrodes and different kinds of machinery are transported to the plant. The aluminum oxide is transported from ship to a silo by the harbour.
The Process

4.663.000 MWh

Compounds of aluminum and oxygen in aluminum oxide are very strong. In order to separate the elements not only much energy is needed but also a new partner for the oxygen. The oxygen (O) is separated from the aluminum (Al) by electrolysis and bound to carbon. This creates CO2 and what remains is pure aluminum.

2. Aluminum is produced by electrolysis in pots in the pot room — oxygen is separated from aluminum. The plant uses approximately a quarter of all the electricity generated in Iceland.
The Process

313.050 tons Al

The product is pure aluminum that is moulded into units that are easy to handle, stacked up in container and driven to a cargo ship that is waiting in the harbour, merely 600 meters from the aluminum plant. Norðurál uses some of the aluminum to develop alloys that can be four times as strong as aluminum and much more valuable. All the products made by in the plant are then delivered to the international markets where they are used for packaging, transport, electronic devices, construction and more.

3. The product is pure aluminum that is moulded into 24 kg units, along with alloys for specialised use. All the produce is stacked up in containers and driven to a cargo ships that transports it to the international markets.
Aluminum around the globe

We Wish to Continue the Journey

All the nations of the world should contribute to minimising the effects of man on temperature and climate. We want to continue doing new and exciting things, travel, learn and enjoy life. Lighter passenger planes use less fuel and emit less CO2 to the atmosphere as a result. The aviation industry is systematically replacing heavier metals and plastics with aluminum to make global transport lighter. Just under 2% of the world’s aluminum comes from Iceland, where it is produced using environmentally friendly Icelandic energy. This is how we contribute to minimising emissions of greenhouse gases globally.

Consumer Products

Norðurál's Environmental Policy

Norðurál produces aluminum in an environmentally friendly manner and emphasises that its operations be in harmony with the environment. We are constantly making an effort to reduce the environmental impact along with the responsible use of energy and raw materials.

Aðgerðir 2016

Every month we thoroughly went over data on carbon emissions and sought improvements.
We introduced green parking lots and free chargers for electric cars.
Environmental Policy

Increased Employee Knowledge

Norðurál promotes increased environmental awareness and the participation of employees in improvement actions.

All employees receive bonus payments that are performance-related in the field of environmental issues.

Actions 2016

The impact of “anode effects” were presented to the staff.
An effort was made to report on environmental issues in Norðurál’s internal communication.
Environmental education was increased in basic training and on staff days.
Environmental Policy

Increased Recycling and Responsible Waste Disposal

We are constantly working on increasing recycling, big and small.

We encourage employees to submit every kind of suggestions and observations that can help us improve that company’s environmental policy. 38 suggestions were submitted in 2016.

Aðgerðir 2016

Carbon emissions in flood pit were reduced.
Organic waste in kitchen and cafeteria sorted.
Staff given a presentation on waste sorting during staff days.

This Is How We Measure Fluoride Gas

Measurements of fluoride gas emissions through the pot room roof are on the one hand based on assessing the concentration levels with a laser and on the other hand to assess the air volume that gets released through the roof through airflow assessment.

For comparison we use filter assessments of fluoride gas concentrations in the roof of the pot room made by the Icelandic Innovation Center.

The results of the assessments made by the Innovation Center indicate less fluoride gas emissions through the roof than our assessments show.

Auditor’s Report

I have reviewed and audited the information presented in Norðurál’s green accounting for the year 2016. The books have been reviewed with regard to whether the information stipulated in articles 6, 7 and 8 of Regulation No. 851/2002 is available for scrutiny and whether the numerical information presented complies with data from the financial records and the company’s monitoring of key figures in environmental matters.

After having conducted a review of the data, my opinion is that the green accounting meets the conditions of Regulation No. 851/2002 and gives a thorough account of the company’s environmental impact in the year of 2016.

Elín Vignisdóttir, Geographer
Reykjavík, 26. apríl 2017
Consumption of Resources 2016 Qty Unit
Members of Staff 578 ♂/♀
Electricity 4,663,000 MWh
Oil 538,148 litres
Gas 90 tons
Fresh water 157,593 m3
Seawater 7,884,000 m3
Total Raw Materials used 2.42 t/t Al
Imported Raw Materials 2.42 t/t Al
Hazardous materials (solids) 607,846 tons
Hazardous materials (liquid) 553,077 litres
Wrapping and misc. packaging < 400 tons
Emissions and Waste Qty Units
Atmospheric Emissions
Fluoride (gaseous and particles) F 0.35 kg/t Al
Sulphurdioxide SO2 9.30 kg/t Al
Dust 0.69 kg/t Al
Carbon dioxide CO2 1.52 kg/t Al
Fluorocarbons, PFC CO2 equivalents 0.16 kg CO2 /t Al
Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons PAH16 0.000024 kg/t Al
Release into surface water/groundwater/sea
Sludge 0.09 kg/t Al
Oils / fats in cooling agents < 0.5 ppm
Release into municipal sewage system
From septic tanks 9.24 tonn
Landfill waste
Waste for compacting 0.44 kg/t Al
Dumping to seashore repository 41 kg/t Al
Recyclable waste
Anode waste and coal dust 111 kg/t Al
Aluminum slag 9.3 kg/t Al
Wood 1.2 kg/t Al
Scrap metal 3.0 kg/t Al
Cardboard 0,14 kg/t Al
Plastic 0,05 kg/t Al
Waste material for disposal
Total waste 0.029 kg/t Al
Statement of CEO and Managing Director

All the information presented in our green accounting for the year 2016 is provided in good faith. We use state of the art emissions control technologies that are regularly and thoroughly maintained. The results of our internal measurements are used for improvement in order to minimise the environmental impact of our operations.

Operating in harmony with the environment is a key factor in what we do and we reach our goals by constantly monitoring environmental factors. The environmental protection aspect of our operations went well this year and active monitoring was conducted in accordance with our monitoring plan and the conditions stipulated in our operating license.

Ragnar Guðmundsson
Gunnar Guðlaugsson
Managing Director
Waste 2016 2015 2014  
Sewage material (tonn)        
Sludge 28.2 36.7 27.1  
Other septic tank waste 9.2 8.3 13.4  
Recyclable material (tons)        
Spent anodes 32,873 33,923 27,515  
Coal dust 1.174 564 1.549  
Aluminum slag 2.915 2.319 2.236  
Scrap iron 951 766 545  
Wood 365 396 232  
Cardboard 43 22 27  
Plastic 15 12 16  
Oil - oil sediment 16 19 40  
Tarmac - 64 75  
Rubber tires 5.1 5.9 -  
Batteries and electronic devices 5.6 2.0 2.8  
Cloth 0.9 0.3 0.7  
Light bulbs 0.2 0.1 -  
Oily waste 26 23 34  
Waste (tons)        
Waste from electronics 0.2 0.4 0.5  
Misc. waste 8.6 20.0 18.7  
Paint 0.1 0.5 0.3  
Material in seashore repository (tons)        
Spebnt pot liners 9,771 8,354 4,906  
Carbon – Rodding shop 1,181 1,059 1,258  
Carbon - Pot rooms 1,445 1,775 1,219  
Sweeping 4 2 -  
Cut-offs from pot liners 417 328 185  
Gravel and soil 15 125 364  
Solid waste (tons)        
Waste for compacting 138 159 142  
Atmospheric emissions        
CO2 (tons) 474,556 482,436 460,351  
CF4/C2F6 (tons CO2 equiv.) 49.261 22.632 19.975  
SO2 (tons) 2.920 3.400 3.252  
Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (kg) 7.5 17.6 16.8  
Fluoride total (tons) 110 94 95  
Dust - PM10 (tonn) 217 193 203  
Poisons and hazardous materials        
DAG 2671 (litres) - 450 532  
DAG 554/20 (litres) 14.489 15.159 16.532  
Plicast strong mix P (tons) 196 161 93  
Ramming paste (tons) 884 450 468  
Collar paste (tonn) 1.627 1.950 1.810  
Propane gas (tons) 90 114 115  
Diesel fuel (tons) 476 414 402  
Hydraulic fluid (litres) 4,160 6,240 11,902  
Sodium (tons) 263 176 141  
Aluminum fluoride (tons) 4,217 4,860 4,531  
Aluminum oxide (tons) 600.543 580.801 570.315  
Ferromanganese (tons) 9 12 10  
Ferrofosphorus (tons) 19 17 9  
Production of pure aluminum (tons) 313,050 311,911 298,388  
Bathing agent (tons) 2,070 2,185 3,656  
Aluminum oxide (tons) 600,543 580,801 570,315  
Aluminum fluoride (tons) 4,217 4,860 4,531  
Pre-cast rods - net use (tons) 132,704 131,494 124,841  
Propane gas (tons) 90 114 115  
Diesel fuel (tons) 476 414 402  
Sodium (tons) 263 176 141  
Collar paste (tons) 1.627 1.950 1.810  
Cast iron (tons) 1.367 1.139 770  
Forks and repair material (tons) 674 764 660  
Electricity (MWh) 4,663,000 4,623,486 4,417,544  
Industrial water (m3) 94,556 97,514 85,410  
Fresh water (m3) 63,037 74,825 56,920  
Sea water (m3) 7,884,000 7,884,000 7,884,000  
Raw materials        
Silicon (tonn) 4,343 3,834 -  
Magnesium (tons) 184 170 -  
Titanium (tons) 65 57 -  
Strontium (tons) 22 20 -  
Hydrolic oil (litres) 4,160 6,240 11,902  
Cooling oil (lítrar) 4,396 4,581 3,764  
Misc. petroleum cleaning agents (litres) 1,060 1,040 805  
Lubricant (litres) 5,650 7,176 5,642  
Ferrosilicon (tons) 25 32 32  
Ferromanganense (tonn) 9 12 10  
Ferrophosphorus (tonn) 19 17 9  
Carbon (tons) 83 53 66  
Steel pellets (tons) 55 69 50  
Wood sticks (pcs) 16,600 10,850 15,350  
Batteries (pcs) 67 41 50  


Norðurál keeps green accounting in accordance with Regulation No. 851/2002 and it is submitted to the Environment Agency of Iceland by 1 May each year. Emissions accounting is also kept in accordance with Regulation No. 990/2008. If you have any questions we encourage you to send them to and we will try to answer them the best we can.

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Norðurál’s quality management system is certified under the international ISO 9001 standard. The company’s environmental and safety management systems are certified under ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards.

Issued by Norðurál on 30 April 2017
The report is only available digitally.
Chief Editor: Sólveig Kr. Bergmann
Written by: Norðurál (Sólveig Kr. Bergmann/Steinunn Dögg Steinsen)
Design: Jónsson & Le'macks
© Norðurál/Jónsson & Le'macks