Hydro's President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg will drive a hydrogen-powered car on Friday in the ZERO Rally – a race for vehicles with low or no emissions. Board member and union leader Billy Fredagsvik will have the role of navigator when the head of Hydro puts the pedal to the metal on the Lånkebanen race track outside Trondheim in Norway.
"Hydro competes in a world championship every single day, and I'll do my best to ensure that we are also among the best during the ZERO Rally," Brandtzæg said before the race that starts in Östersund in Sweden on Thursday and ends in Trondheim on Friday.
"Men of steel drive cars of aluminium"
Gunhild Stordalen, a board member of the environmental organization ZERO, which organizes the annual race, is also on the Hydro team. The team is rounded out with NRK program host Asbjørn Slettemark. Hydro's car is a Mercedes Benz B-Class.
"I think we have a great team. It is tempting to quote Mercedes' own promotional ad: 'Men of steel drive cars of aluminium'," says Brandtzæg with a smile.
The car they will be driving is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell engine. This means that the car's only emission is water vapor. The water is clean enough to drink.
"The transportation sector accounts for 25 percent of the world's energy consumption. If we are to solve the climate change problem, then we must significantly reduce emissions from cars and other vehicles," says Brandtzæg.
Car manufacturers want more aluminium
Stricter emission standards are the reason why automakers are using more aluminium in the cars they produce. The reason is simple. The more aluminium that replaces other heavier materials, the lighter cars will be. This results in lower fuel consumption and lower emissions.
"Regardless of whether it is hydrogen cars or electric cars that eventually become the winning technology for the future, I feel confident that aluminium will be part of the solution," says Brandtzæg.
Hydro is one of the world's largest producers of aluminium for the auto industry, and each year sells about 800,000 tonnes of aluminium for use in vehicle production. This means that Hydro supplies about a third of all the primary aluminium used in cars in Europe.