Environmental Protection at Hamburg

The largest Aurubis AG production site and the Group headquarters are located on the Elbe island Peute, only about four kilometers, as the crow flies, from Hamburg’s city hall. The site covers an area of 870,000 m².

Aurubis AG’s Hamburg site is one of the world’s state-of-the-art primary and secondary copper smelters. Approximately 400,000 t of pure copper is produced from copper ores and, in some cases, very complex recyclable materials. As part of multi-metal recovery, other metals such as precious metals, nickel, lead, and zinc, as well as iron silicate products and sulfuric acid, are produced.

Environmentally sound copper and multi-metal production in the middle of a large city is our biggest challenge. It requires efforts that go beyond legal stipulations because protecting the environment and the health of our neighbors and employees is the foundation for safeguarding the site. We have to and want to combine the city’s growth targets with the sustainable development of the Aurubis site in Hamburg. With innovative, high-performance technology, supported by the employees’ environmental awareness, we attain exemplary achievements in environmental protection and work on continuous improvement.

The Environmental Protection Department at the Hamburg site is responsible for implementing and monitoring all applicable environmental requirements. These include the relevant laws, e.g., the German Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG), the Recycling Management Law (KrWG), and the Water Control Act (WHG); stipulations in plant permits; Group requirements; and voluntary agreements regarding improvement measures, for instance within the scope of the Partnership for Air Quality and Low-Emission Mobility.

We operate an environmental management system as an instrument to monitor legally compliant operation and to support continuous improvement. This system is certified annually by TÜV pursuant to DIN ISO 14001 and EMAS. The environmental management system has been part of an overarching integrated management system (IMS) since 2017, which still includes the management systems for quality (DIN ISO 9001) and energy (DIN ISO 50001).

To ensure that facilities are operated in accordance with the relevant laws, annual measurements are carried out in the scope of environmental monitoring under the relevant standards. In concrete terms, this amounts to about 10,000 individual air analyses and 7,000 water analyses. Noise and vibration measurements are also taken.

Routine inspections and audits take place in the production areas to ensure they are operated correctly. Understanding and awareness of environmental issues in everyday work are promoted in training sessions for about 1,000 employees annually. Managers of the production divisions are kept up to date on new legal developments relating to the environment in separate informational events.

The prevention of fugitive dust emissions and water pollution control were identified as the most important environmental aspects at the Hamburg site. Other key topics include avoiding waste, raising the recycling rate, and supporting biodiversity and low-emission mobility. Improvement measures are derived and implemented based on the significance of these environmental aspects.

You can find detailed environmental information for the Hamburg site in the current Environmental Statement.

Environmental Protection - facts & figures

While considerable improvements were made by installing filters in the chimneys in the early 1990s, additional improvements are more difficult to achieve these days. The plan is to continue reducing fugitive dust emissions in the future, for example by utilizing newly developed filter media or by suctioning and filtering roof openings.

Since 2000, dust emissions at the site have been reduced, both specific (-35 g/t of copper output per year) and absolute (-20 t per year). The voluntary emission reduction agreements entered into with the city of Hamburg have always been fufilled.

 

 

Due to optimizations in the plant’s internal sewage treatment facility, metal emissions to water have decreased by 25 % since 2000, taking the normal fluctuation range into account. Additional improvements are planned, such as increasing dwell times and enhancing precipitation of the metals. 

 

Environmental Protection Measures & Projects

Degree of implementation:

  • reduction of 9 t of dust from 2011 to 2017
  • Verification will follow with the 2016 and 2017 Emissions Declaration
  • Negotiation of new reduction agreement

 

Status:

  • Successfully completed
     

Description:

  • Suctioning of the ridge turrets in the primary smelter (RWO) in connection with a flow improvement in the converter hall and improvement measures in the existing auxiliary hood filter system

 

Next steps:

  • permit has been issued
  • planning to start in 2018
  • commissioning scheduled for 2021

 

Status:

  • In progress
     

Description:

  • Renovating the contact plant and extracting district heat (18 MW). Avoiding heat discharge into the Elbe and supplying it to HafenCity East and other customers

 

Degree of implementation:

  • Aurubis’ work is finished;
  •  the district heating line started up in October 2018

 

Status:

  • Successfully completed
     

Next steps:

  • permits have been issued
  • successive commissioning starting in 2019 in the primary smelter (RWO) concentrate dryer, electronic scrap sampling facility, secondary smelter (RWN), rod plant, shapes plant, and lead refinery

 

Status:

  • In progress
     

Next steps:

  • continuous 2-line design
  • increase in duell times for metal precipitation and sedimentation;
  • expansion of hydraulic throughput area
  • permit procedure to start in 2018, commissioning scheduled for 2021

 

Status:

  • In progress
     

Next steps:

  • continuous increase in electric vehicles on plant premises in 2018
  • purchase and evaluation of larger utility vehicles in 2019

 

Status:

  • Continuous development
     

Next steps:

  • Set-up of a green facade (pilot) to promote biodiversity and improve the ambient air
  • planning in 2018 – implementation by 2019

 

Status:

  • In progress
     

Next steps:

  • Construction of a city bike station; implementation 2018/19
  • Establishment of loading points in north and east parking lots
  • Expansion of bike stands at the north parking lot and bike lockers Charging option for e-bike batteries
  • Lockable bike boxes at the local train stations

 

Status:

  • In progress
     

Next steps:

  • Test and purchase of a new sweeping machine, including fine dust filter, in 2018

 

Status:

  • Successfully completed
     

Next steps:

  • Start-up of ridge turret suctioning on the secondary smelter’s electric furnace in 2018.

 

Status:

  • Successfully completed
     

Environmental Protection milestones at Hamburg site

2018

Technical modifications to the contact plant’s acid coolers in line 1. Increase in the temperature level to enable the extraction of industrial heat and construction of an industrial heat pipeline extending to the plant boundary to supply the neighborhood HafenCity East with heat. Preventing the discharge of 12 million m³ of cooling water into the Elbe River annually. Investments of roughly € 22 million.

2018

Replacement of old wet gas cleaning in the concentrate drying drum of the primary smelter RWO by a modern dry filter installation • Reduction in accident risk due to improved ergonomics • 75 % reduction in dust emissions • 85 % reduction in SO2 emissions

2018

Installation of a 60,000 m³/h suctioning system on the secondary smelter’s e-furnace building. Filtering of exhaust air via existing filter.

2016

Commissioning of a steam turbine to generate electricity. The previously unused pressure stage between 60 and 20 bar is made usable with the help of a superheater. This reduces about 5,000 t of CO2 per year.

2015

Commissioning of a modern, steam-heated anode slime press including a sliding off-gas hood to collect all of the thermally induced emissions above the press.

2014

Replacement of the old lead refinery. Approx. 50 % reduction in fugitive emissions due to improved processes with a ventilation concept. Construction costs of roughly € 20 million.

2012

Construction of a storage hall including an enclosed, suctioned crusher for pollutant-laden bulk material in Plant North. Material is now transported via a fully closed system.

2011

Construction of a new filter installation to continue reducing fugitive emissions in the converter area.

2009

Commissioning of two washing towers to remove fluorides and other water-soluble components from the off-gas. The gas flows through the towers from below in a countercurrent to the washing water.

2008

New off-gas collection system for anode furnace and casting machine reduces emissions in the area by more than 70 %. Investment of more than € 7 million.

2004

Enclosure and suctioning of Peirce-Smith converter in the Plant North primary smelter to collect and treat SO2-bearing off-gases from charging processes within the converter hall (house-in-house concept).

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