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Vow ASA, Elkem partner on biocarbon project

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Vow ASA’s wholly-owned subsidiary Vow Industries and Elkem, a major supplier of silicon-based advanced materials, have agreed to reduce fossil CO2 emissions from silicon and ferrosilicon production.

The two firms signed a letter of intent to join competence and technology solutions to develop and manufacture biocarbon and other products for Elkem’s production processes. The biocarbon will be produced at Vow Industries’ planned facility at Follum, outside Oslo in Norway, from a sustainable feedstock comprised of forestry wood mass, wood waste, and other wood materials.

Elkem already uses around 20% biocarbon in its production in Norway and the firm is working towards increasing this to 40% by 2030. The company also sources 83% of its electricity consumption from renewable energy.

“Elkem is one of the world’s leading companies in the environmentally responsible manufacturing of advanced material solutions,” said Elkem CEO Michael Koenig, “and we believe that sustainability is increasingly a competitive advantage.

“Using climate-neutral renewable biocarbon instead of fossil coal as a reduction agent is a key part of our sustainable production strategy. Through our activities in biocarbon, like this exciting cooperation with Vow Industries, we aim to secure long-term access to low-cost, high-quality renewable biocarbon to replace fossil reduction material, and further improve our competitive position for the sustainable future.”

Vow Industries’ plant will initially produce 10,000 tonnes of biocarbon but can be scaled-up to more capacity when required. The firm plans to build, own, and operate the facility, which will become the centre of a new circular and sustainable industrial cluster at Follum.

Henrik Badin, CEO of Vow ASA, said: “We are pleased to wish Elkem welcome as our partner at Follum. We see large industrial groups are undergoing a significant restructuring to achieve their goals of CO2 neutrality, and having a front-runner like Elkem as part of the team will help us accelerate the development of the project.”

Other partners involved in the project are Viken Skog, a large regional forest owner, the regional waste and sewage company Lindum, and Vardar Varme, a municipal energy company.

Viken Skog will provide biomass as feedstock for the plant. Lindum will deliver the waste wood, while Vardar will use syngas, also a product from the plant, as a CO2-neutral source of energy in its district heating system.

The Follum plant will be financed in part through grants from Enova, Norway’s state enterprise promoting energy innovation and climate technology, and in part through debt and equity. An investment decision will be made when the result of Enova application is confirmed. The plant is due to be operational in summer 2022.