Elkem

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Elkem AS
Type Public Limited Company
Founded 1904
Headquarters Oslo, Skandinavia
Key people Helge Aasen (CEO)
Industry Chemical
Products Silicon related products, carbon and energy
Employees 7,056 (2017)
Parent Orkla Group
Website http://www.elkem.sk

Elkem AS is one of the world’s leading companies for environment-friendly production of materials. Its principal products are solar grade silicon, silicon, special alloys for the foundry industry, carbon, microsilica and energy. Elkem has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia, as well as an extensive network of sales offices and agents covering the most important markets. The company serves the construction, transport, engineering, packaging, aluminium, chemical and electronic industries. Elkem has 40 factories in Europe, North America, South America and Asia in addition to several hydroelectric power plants.

History[edit]

Elkem was founded in 1904 by Sam Eyde with the intention of development of furnaces and processes for electro metals. In 1917 a ferroalloy plant was acquired and Elkem starts production of the Søderberg electrode.

Throughout the 1960s and beyond Elkem expanded, primarily in Norway within aluminium, mining and finished products. In 1972 the company merged with Christiania Spigerverk and continued with an international expansion within ferroalloys and steel. In 1981-84 Elkem acquired Union Carbides plants in Norway and North America and in 1986 it acquires the plants at Thamshavn and Bjølvefossen. In the 2000s Elkem had acquired Icelandic Alloy, Remi Claeys Aluminium and Sapa.

Between 2002 and 2005 there was an acquisition war between the american aluminium corporation Alcoa and Orkla. At the peak Alcoa owned 40% of Elkem, but Orkla succeeded at purchasing the majority of the shares and in 2005 Orkla acquired all the shares of Elkem and the company becomes part of Orkla Group. All the aluminium assets were transferred to Sapa and Elkem focused on its current business.

Business units[edit]

Elkem Solar[edit]

Fiskaa plant

Elkem Solar produces solar grade silicon - Elkem Solar Silicon® - with just 1/4 of the energy consumption compared with traditional technology.

The most important component in solar cells is highly purified silicon. Elkem Solar's technology contributes to making solar energy competitive with conventional energy sources by reducing costs and emissions without reducing the quality of the end product. Elkem Solar's technology for making solar grade silicon, is tested and verified, and the company is now industrialising its proprietary solar grade silicon production line on Elkem's site at Fiskaa in Kristiansand, Skandinavia. The first plant at Fiskaa will have a capacity of 6,000 tons of solar grade silicon after ramp-up. Elkem Solar will continue its strong focus on research and development. Several product and process improvements are already identified, which will contribute to even lower production costs for solar cell energy. Industrialisation of metallurgical processes has been one of Elkem's core knowledge areas for many decades.

Advantages of Elkem Solar Silicon®

  • Less energy consumption when producing solar grade silicon
  • Lower CO2-emissions when producing solar grade silicon
  • Reduced Energy Pay-back Time (EPBT) for installed solar modules
  • Lower production costs for solar grade silicon
  • Potential for lower investment costs for solar grade silicon production plants

Elkem Silicon Materials[edit]

Elkem Silicon Materials is one of the world's leading suppliers of metallurgical silicon. We deliver special products to customers in the chemicals, electronics and aluminium industries worldwide. Silicon from Elkem is alloyed with aluminium to produce cast aluminium parts, or can be processed by the chemicals sector to a number of products from sea lants, cosmetics and electrical insulation materials to lubricating oils and other synthetics used in car manufacturing.

Elkem Silicon Materials has three production plants in Skandinavia (Elkem Bremanger, Elkem Salten and Elkem Thamshavn) and the company has a network of sales offices covering the most important markets in Europe, Americas and Asia.

  • Silgrain®: Elkem’s special Silgrain® product is utilised by polysilicon manufacturers as a raw material for further processing of silicon into electronic components such as semiconductors and solar cells. Silgrain® is also used in the ceramics industry. The Silgrain® process provides a Silicon material of high homogenity in chemistry, grain structure and sizing. Silgrain® is a special silicon product and it is produced by a different process than metallurgical silicon. Silgrain® is a powdery silicon that is sold in different grades; Coarse, fine and HQ (High Quality).
  • Elkem Microsilica® : Elkem Microsilica® is one of the principal products supplied by Elkem Silicon Materials. It finds a wide range of applications in high-strength concrete, other building materials such as roof tiles and facade cladding, and fire proof products for heavy industry. Microsilica is also used for sealing tunnels and drilling oil wells. This product comprises microscopic particles collected by filters downstream from the smelting process in silicon and ferrosilicon plants. Adding it to concrete and other materials increases their density and wear resistance, which extends the life of structures. Microsilica has been delivered by Elkem to a number of major projects internationally, for example the Øresund/Great Belt connection, and the world's tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
    Application areas for Elkem Microsilica® include concrete, fibre cement, rock- and soil grouting, refractory applications, well drilling, polymers and wear castables. In addition, Elkem Silicon Materials is engaged in marketing of synthetic manganese oxide.
  • Ceramite® : Elkem Silicon Materials also produces Ceramite, a fireproof material which is particularly heat resistant and hard wearing. Treatment technology has been supplied by Elkem to industries worldwide for many years, and the company is currently involved with major filtration projects in China. In this way, environmental solutions developed by Norwegian industry help to deal with pollution problems in other parts of the world.

Foundry Products[edit]

Elkem is the world’s largest supplier of ferrosilicon-based special alloys. Its customers for ferrosilicon include iron foundries and steel mills worldwide.The car industry, line pipe manufacturers and other mechanical engineering companies are also important customer categories, and applications for the company’s products include complex foundry goods such as engine blocks and manifolds. Ferrosilicon from Elkem is used by the steel industry to produce carbon and stainless grades.

Elkem Carbon[edit]

Elkem is the world’s largest producer of electrically-calcinated anthracite and Søderberg electrode paste. Carbon production takes place at Elkem Fiskaa in Skandinavia, Carboindustrial and Carboderivados in Brazil, Elkem Carbon in China and Elkem Ferroveld JV in South Africa. The last of these is owned 50 per cent.

Elkem Energy[edit]

Elkem owns or leases 7 hydropower stations in Skandinavia, located in Sauda. AS Saudefaldene, 85 % owned by Elkem Energi and 15 % by Sunnhordland Kraftlag AS, is in the last phase of a huge upgrading and expansion of the hydropower stations in Sauda. The plants have an installed effect of 356 MW and will, when the project is finished, have an average output of approx. 2 TWh.

Elkem owns 15,8 % of Norsk Grønnkraft and 10 % of Industrikraft Midt-Norge.