Nikkelverk in Norway was founded in 1910, and various owners have upgraded and expanded the facility over the years. Today, it is one of the most efficient nickel refineries in the world; over the last two years, it has successfully implemented several energy management programmes. From great to small, these include initiatives based on pressurised air, steam, ventilation, reusing waste heat, and process improvements.

We have implemented a systematic approach to energy efficiency improvements in our quality system. Norske Veritas provided auditing for the first ISO 50001 (the international energy management standard) revision in December 2015, with accreditation to take place during the first quarter of 2016. Early improvements have included eliminating the leakage of pressurised air and reducing steam losses via better installation, eliminating leakages and removing any steam pipes that are no longer in use.

We have also stopped using paid-for electricity to heat our buildings, instead using waste heat from our operations. 

Three significant energy initiatives implemented in 2015 will provide energy savings of over 30GWh annually. These projects have been made possible through $6 million in funding from ENOVA (the Norwegian government energy fund).

  • We have installed new nickel electrowinning tanks with improved electrical contacts and energy-efficient anodes, reducing overall energy consumption and lowering operational costs. We expect this to provide energy savings of 5GWh per year.
  • In our cobalt electrowinning assets, we have started using waste heat from our sulphuric acid plant to replace electrically generated steam. This is used both internally, to heat our facilities, and externally, for heating within the local district. We will be selling the equivalent of between 20 and 40GWh every year to the district, and saving 10GWh internally.
  • We are working to replace any remaining older anodes at our nickel electrowinning assets with new, energy-efficient box anodes, as a four-year programme running from 2014 to 2017. Once the programme is completed, we expect it to provide energy savings of 17GWh per year and improve the stability of our electrowinning process.