Novelis invests $2.5 billion in low carbon aluminum recycling & rolling plant
Rendering of Novelis' planned, brand new fully integrated aluminum recycling and rolling mill in Bay Minette, Alabama, USA. Image: Novelis
Novelis Inc has announced it will invest $2.5 billion to build a new low-carbon recycling and rolling plant in Bay Minette, Alabama, USA. The highly advanced facility will have an initial 600 kilotonnes of finished aluminium goods capacity per year.
“This investment marks the start of another transformational growth phase for Novelis,” said Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group and the Novelis Board of Directors. “We continue to invest in each of the markets Novelis serves – from beverage can to automotive, aerospace and specialties – and in all geographies. Novelis has a track record of success in delivering customers the low-carbon, sustainable aluminium solutions they seek, and we will continue that storied history with this investment and others to come.”
More than half of the capacity of the new facility will be used to serve growing demand for aluminium beverage can sheet in North America, which is driven by consumer preference for more sustainable packaging.
“Through this investment, we are making a demonstrative commitment to continue to grow alongside our customers and meet their needs for low-carbon, highly sustainable aluminium solutions,” said Steve Fisher, president and CEO of Novelis Inc. “In addition, we are well-positioned to efficiently expand capacity at this facility in the future – above the 600kt announced today – to capture ongoing strong demand. Our readiness to invest to serve growing markets is a perfect example of how we are delivering on our company purpose of shaping a sustainable world together.”
Novelis’ decision to build a fully integrated, greenfield recycling and rolling plant is backed by strong North American demand for flat-rolled, low-carbon aluminium from can makers and beverage companies. Aluminium beverage cans, bottles and cups are the models of sustainable packaging and the circular economy. With an average “can-to-can” lifecycle of just a couple of months, a can that is recycled today can be back on store shelves in as little as 60 days.
“As the world’s leading supplier of infinitely recyclable aluminium beverage packaging, Ball is committed to creating a circular economy within the aluminium industry and decarbonizing the value chain is fundamental to this work,” said Ron Lewis, Ball Corporation’s chief operating officer, global beverage packaging. “Novelis’ new recycling and rolling plant will not only add much needed domestic production of sustainable aluminium here in North America but will do so while decreasing the carbon footprint of the products we create.”
The facility will be the first fully integrated aluminium mill built in the US in 40 years. It is expected to create up to 1,000 high-paying, advanced careers in modern manufacturing. It will also be the most sophisticated and sustainable of its kind, according to Novelis. It will aim to be net carbon neutral for Scope 1 and 2, be powered primarily by renewable energy, use recycled water and be a zero-waste facility. It will also rely on railroad transportation, which can reduce logistics-related carbon emissions by up to 70% compared to road transport. The plant will make significant use of advanced automation and digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality and robotics.
With the addition of a new recycling centre for beverage cans, Novelis will soon be able to recycle 90 billion cans globally, up from the 74 billion used beverage cans the company currently recycles. To support this, Novelis has been working to develop circular economies for aluminium through state and federal public policies, as well as through partnerships with customers and other stakeholders on new approaches that encourage and incentivise US consumers to recycle more often.
“Aluminium cans are an important form of packaging that, when recycled, play a vital role in our overall efforts to reduce waste,” said John Murphy, chief financial officer of The Coca-Cola Company. “The announcement of this new, low-carbon recycling and rolling facility by our longtime partners at Novelis will benefit the Coca-Cola system, our customers and consumers, while reducing impact on the environment.”
Site work is under way now and the company expects to begin commissioning in mid-2025.
In addition to the beverage can market, the facility will also serve the automotive market.