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US decarbonization: Century Aluminum doubles primary aluminum industry with government financing

#US decarbonization: Century Aluminum doubles primary aluminum industry with government financing

01 Apr 2024 — The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations has chosen Century Aluminum Company this week to begin award negotiations for up to US$500 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act funding to build a new aluminum smelter as part of the Industrial Demonstrations Program.

With the DOE funding, Century Aluminum plans to build the first new US primary aluminum smelter in 45 years. Upon completion, the smelter would double the size of the country’s current primary aluminum industry.

The primary aluminum giant’s Green Aluminum Smelter Project is one of 33 projects across 20 US states to receive funding designed to demonstrate commercial-scale decarbonization solutions for transitioning energy-intensive industries toward net-zero while “strengthening local economies, creating and maintaining high-quality jobs, and slashing GHG emissions.”

“The project embodies a great many goals and aspirations shared by all our stakeholders, including providing a tremendous win for the domestic, primary aluminum industry and the broader US economy, strengthening domestic supply chains of critical materials, protecting our national security interests and building a more sustainable future for generations to come,” says Century Aluminum’s CEO, Jesse Gary.

A regional economy boost
The investment is a significant capital injection for the US primary aluminum industry.

Century Aluminum asserts the project will strengthen domestic material supply chains needed for the green energy transition, including electric vehicles, renewable energy production and storage, building and construction, and sustainable packaging.

Century Aluminum expects to build the new smelter at a site within the Ohio-Mississippi River Basin. This project is expected to create over 1,000 full-time jobs represented by the United Steelworkers and over 5,500 construction jobs.

The aluminum provider plans to collaborate with job training organizations and local technical colleges to recruit and train employees from the local community where the smelter is located.

The company is an integrated producer of bauxite, alumina and primary aluminum products. Century Aluminum is the largest producer of primary aluminum in the US and operates production facilities in Iceland, the Netherlands and Jamaica.

Edited by Natalie Schwertheim

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