October 23rd 2020
Aluminerie Alouette will benefit from liquefied natural gas

An investment of over $23 million in the conversion of the anode baking furnaces


SEPT-ÎLES, October 23, 2020—Today, Aluminerie Alouette announced jointly with various partners that it is starting the project to convert its anode baking furnaces to natural gas. The official announcement was made by Michel Huot, President and Chief Executive Officer, who was joined virtually by Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Côte-Nord Region, and Étienne Champagne, Vice President, Development and Major Projects, Énergir. 


Although expected in the region for several years, natural gas has not been available where the largest aluminium smelter in the Americas operates until now. The joint efforts of the partners involved with Aluminerie Alouette—the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Énergir and Transition énergétique Québec (TEQ)—have made it possible for the company to become the first client to use liquefied natural gas on the Côte-Nord. 


Through a long-term supplying agreement with Gaz Métro GNL, affiliate to Énergir, Aluminerie Alouette will be supplied directly with liquefied natural gas at its plant. The supplier will liquefy the gas at its facilities in Montréal and then transport it by specialized truck to Sept-Îles where it will handle storage and vaporization at its new infrastructure on the aluminium smelter’s site. 


No less than $23.3 million will be invested at Aluminerie Alouette in the conversion of manifolds, burners and other equipment used for anode baking. At the end of the project, heavy fuel oil, in use since start up in 1992, will no longer be used to bake carbon blocks, essential conductors in the aluminium smelting process.  


In addition to non-negligible economic returns, there will be considerable environmental benefits. Replacing fuel oil with liquefied natural gas reduces greenhouse gas emissions from baking anodes by about 30%. Furthermore, emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2 generated specifically by this operation), present in fossil fuels, will be eliminated. “Each day we work to reduce our environmental footprint, and this project will significantly contribute to that,” says Michel Huot, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aluminerie Alouette. “Our employees and our community can only rejoice at this news, which testifies to the trust of our government and our shareholders in the future of our organization,” he adds with pride. 


The announcement of this major investment in modernization shows yet again the social responsibility of this Sept-Îles company that is successfully meeting its commitments related to the most recent agreements regarding its electricity rates. The support from the Quebec government for the installation of the service and a direct subsidy from Transition énergétique Québec of $15.7 million make the project commercially viable—an essential factor for its implementation. The engineering steps are already moving forward, and the work will be scheduled primarily through 2021, with commissioning planned at the end of the year.