Romanian aluminum company Alro, one of Europe’s largest vertically integrated aluminum producers, has unleashed a $190 million roadmap aimed at reducing its carbon footprint through 2021. By investing in green aluminum-smelting technology, in a plan dubbed the “Green Factory” concept, Alro says that its factory is on the way to achieving the company’s goal of zero waste and zero emissions.
One of Romania’s leading energy-consuming companies is proving that going green does not have to be costly; it can be profitable.
Alro’s “Green Factory” plan, which was rolled out in 2017, consists of investing $190 million by 2021, over half of which will be put towards enhancing energy efficiency, such as by introducing aluminum-smelting technologies that will reduce its carbon footprint and electricity bill.
“One reasoning behind a producer going green is the fact that 35 percent of costs go to energy, so it’s good for the bottom line,” said Alro’s Chairman, Marian Nastase, who added that the since the program’s implementation Alro has moved “quite ahead of most of our peers” in terms of environmentally friendly production policy.
Founded in 1963 and based in Slatina, Romania, Alro operates an integrated group that covers the entire process of aluminum production. Alro went private through a World Bank-led program in 2002, which was then followed up by several crucial acquisitions, including Alum, a Romanian alumina refinery, and the 2008 purchase of a bauxite mine in Sierra Leone.
Today, Alro has become an export-orientated producer. “About 80 percent of our production is exported,” confirms Nastase. “In fact, Germany is Alro’s largest business partner in Europe,” he said, adding that Alro also works with major manufactures across the EU and the US.
Since 2017, Alro has been an officially recognized supplier of aluminum to Netherlands-based Airbus, the world’s second-largest aerospace company. “Airbus has a very limited number of suppliers qualified to deliver aluminum flat rolled products, and we are one of them,” Nastase affirms.
Airbus issues its certifications by factories, not by company, a process that Alro has passed and graduated through. “Our plant in Romania is certified and was audited every year, but after graduating with a maximum grade, it’s now audited only every two years,” says Nastase.
Through its green roadmap, Alro will also continue to modernize its cold rolling and grinding machinery, increasing production of flat rolled aluminum products to 120,000 tonnes per year by 2022 from 90,000 tonnes per year at the end of 2017.
One of Romania’s largest companies, ALRO (ALR) has a market capitalization of about $420 million and has traded its shares on the Bucharest Stock Exchange since October 1997.