2.13 Green House Gas Emission

Indicator 2.13 - Green House Gas Emission

2.13 Strompur á álveri

This indicator measures four kinds of issues related to GHG emissions: emissions of CO2 and PFCs from the smelter; total SF6 emissions from leakage from substations in the transmission system; CO2 emissions calculated from the amount of gas and diesel fuel used by Alcoa and Landsvirkjun; and carbon sequestration (CO2 equivalents/metric ton/yr) achieved by Alcoa and Landsvirkjun carbon sequestration projects in Iceland.


a. Total emissions of CO2 and PFC per ton of aluminum produced.

Table 1:  Total emission of CO2 and PFC per ton of Aluminum produced

Emission of:  CO2 PFC 
Year/emissions t CO2/t aluminum
CO2/t aluminum  
2007  1.50 0.92a
2008  1.20 0.57a
2009  1.50 0.13
2010  1.78b 0.25c
2011  1.50 0.07
2012  1.49 0.13
2013  1.52 0.12
2014  1.55 0.21
2015 1.54   0.19
2016  1.54  0.091

a: PFC emissions was higher during startup than it is when operation is stable.
b: During this year, unforeseen incidents occurred which affected stability of the potrooms, including the emission of GHG. Under normal operation circumstances the emission should be 1.67t CO2/t.
c Late in the year a fire occurred, which explains the increase in PFC emissions between 2009 and 2010.

Source: Alcoa Fjardaál, 2009 - 2016.
Updated:  August 2017

b.Total SF6 emissions.

Table 2:  Total SF6 emission from Fjarðaál smelter and from Fljótsdalsstöð power station (t CO2 equivalents)a

Alcoa Fjardaál
(t CO2 equivalents)
(t CO2 equivalents)a
2007 0 0
2008 22 0
2009 12 12
2010 1056 0
0 0
2012 354 0
2013 19 0
2014 313 53b
2015  69
2016  315 -

a: Leakage from electrical equipment in Fljótsdalsstöð power station.
b: Leakage over period of 7 years, registered on the year 2014 when refilled.

Source: Alcoa Fjardaál 2017,  Landsvirkjun 2015.
Updated:  August 2017

c. CO2 emissions calculated from the amount of gas and diesel fuel used.

Table 3. Greenhouse gas emission caused by fuel combustion

  Alcoa Fjardaál
kg CO2 eq / t Ala
Fljótsdalur Power Station
kg CO2 eq/MWhb
2007 N/A N/A
2008 3.5 0.008
2009 4.2 0.011
2010 3.5 0.013
2011 3.6 0.011
2012 3.8 0.011
2013 3.7 0.012
2014 3.7 0.011
2015 3.8 0.010 
2016 4.25  0.010

a CO2 eq per ton of aluminum produced
b CO2 eq. per kilowatt hour produced

Table 4. Consumption of diesel and gas in liters

  Alcoa Fjarðaál (L) Fljótsdalur Power Station (L)
2007   7812 
2008 585,075 13,499
2009 553,860 18,769
2010 531,973 24,147
2011 520,972 19,766
2012 549,985 19,700
2013 542,291 21,365
2014 567,617 20,383
2015 560,071  18,445 
2016 542,594 19,240

Source: Alcoa Fjardaál and Landsvirkjun, 2009 - 2017.
Updated:  August 2017

d. Carbon sequestration

Table 5. Carbon sequestration due to projects by Alcoa Fjarðaál aluminum plant and Landsvirkjun power company ( ton CO2-eq/year)

   Alcoa Fjardaál Fljótsdalsstöð Power Station
2010  19.4 4,800
2011  42 5,380
2012  55 5,380
2013  85 5,380
2014  151.5 5,380
2015  199.8 5,380 
2016  239.8 5,380 

Landsvirkjun has reclaimed about 4,000 ha of land. Until exact measurements can be made on sequestration, it is estimated to be about 1 t/ha or about 4,000 t. CO2/year.

According to Alcoa Fjarðaál, it is estimated that carbon sequestration projects per year amount to the equivalent of 19.4 t. CO2/year, considering the amount of trees planted in these projects since 2003 (under Alcoa's Ten Million Trees plan).

Table 6. Net carbon sequestrationa by Fjarðaál aluminum plant and Fljótsdalsstöð power plant ( ton CO2-eq/year)

Year Sequestration by land reclamation Emission SF6 from electrical equipment  Emission by fuel
Emission from
 Total emission Net sequestration
2010 4,800  0 67  1,140  1,207 3,593
2011 5,380  0 54 1,140 1,194 4,186
2012 5,380  0 54 1,140 1,194 4,186
2013 5,380  0 58 1,140 1,198 4,182
2014 5,380 53 55 1,140 1,248 4,132
2015 5,380  - 50  866  916  4,464 
2016 5,380 - 52 943 995 4,385

a : Sequestration by land reclamation - total emission (emission by fuel combustion + emission from reservoir) = net sequestration.

Source: Alcoa Fjardaál and Landsvirkjun, 2009 - 2017.
Updated:  August 2017

Metrics, Targets and Monitoring Protocol

Metrics: What is measured?

  1. Total emissions of CO2 and PFCs from smelter per ton of aluminium produced (CO2 equivalents/metric ton of aluminium produced). (Project effect: direct).

  2. Total SF6 emissions from leakage from substations in the transmission system and the smelter. (Project effect: direct).

  3. CO2 emissions calculated from the amount of gas and diesel fuel used by Alcoa and Landsvirkjun, mainly for transport vehicles and engines. (Project effect: direct).

  4. Carbon sequestration (CO2 equivalents/metric ton /yr) achieved by Alcoa and Landsvirkjun carbon sequestration projects in Iceland, accounting for vegetation loss caused by creation of Halson. (Project effect: direct).


  1. 1.5 metric tons of total CO2/metric ton Al produced (see EIA Comparison Report)

    0.05 anode effect minutes per pot day (=0.054 CO2 equivalents/metric ton of aluminum produced) once operations and processes have stabilized post start-up.

  2. Less than 0.5 % leakage per year.

  3. Fljótsdalur Hydropower Station: To reduce usage of gas and diesel fuel until minimal usage has been defined. After that, a clearer target will be set. Targets for contractors during construction was not defined, but the usage was monitored and information communicated.

    Smelter: Reduce consumption of gasoline and diesel by 10% of baseline (to be defined) every 2 years for 10 years (a total of 50% reduction over ten years). This target only applies to the operational phase, but emissions were also monitored during construction.

  4. Fljótsdalur Hydropower Station: Carbon sequestration equal or greater than what is lost from creation of the reservoir.

    Smelter: A minimum of 450 trees planted in Iceland yearly through 2007. Target will be expanded in 2008 and continue through the life of the project.

Monitoring Protocol

  1. Total CO2 eq. emissions = CO2 emissions from pots + CO2 eq. (PFCs) emissions from anode usage + CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion sources. Information is collected monthly.

    CO2 emissions from pots (MT) = 44/12 * net carbon consumption (MT)

    CO2 equivalent emissions from anode usage = TBD

    CO2 emissions from fossil fuel sources (MT) = [Propane usage (liters) * 1.5 kg CO2/liter)]/1000 (kg/MT)

  2. The equipment in substations is monitored 24 hours from Landsnet's headquarters and if gas pressure fall more than 0,8 bars, the computer gives out warning and action is taken to stop further leakage, and gas is added to the equipment if needed. In addition, the metric is monitored by filling out special forms every time more gas is added. Every year the containers with the gas are weighted and compared to information on the forms.

  3. Coefficients of variations are used to convert the volume of bought fossil fuels into CO2 equivalents. Diesel fuel use (liters) * 2.723 + Gasoline use (liter) * 2.576 = kg CO2 equivalents. Information gathered annually from Fljótsdalur Power Station and monthly from Alcoa Fjardaál. 
  4. Further information on carbon sequestration will be introduced in 2017. The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland is currently working on the first appraisal of carbon sequestration in vegetation according to new international standards. Data collection from Landsvirkjun's land reclamation projects, according to these new processes, is expected to finish in 2017. Thereafter, data will be collected every five years. Until then, the estimated emission is calculated by the size of land reclamation areas in East Iceland and the sequestration is calculated according to The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland's standards, which is around 1.5 tons of CO2 equivalents per hectare a year. Landsvirkjun's land reclamation areas associated with the operation of Fljótsdalur Power Station in the years 2003-2010 measure about 4,800 ha. Fjardaál estimates its carbon sequestration from the number of trees that the company has planted in Iceland since 2003 (around 8,000 trees already in 2011).
    1. Outcomes of measurements show that the GHG emissions from Fljótsdalur Power Station's reservoirs are around 1,140 tons of CO2 equivalents per year (Hálslón = 910 t, Kelduárlón = 200 t and Ufsarlón = 30 t). Grjótárlón emits less than 1 t per year. The outcome is based on measurements of carbon supply in vegetation and soil and experiments with GHG emissions from soil samples similar to those in the reservoir basins. Measurements are performed by The Agricultural University of Iceland (AUI), and those are the same as published in Iceland's climate bookkeeping for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Plans assume to repeat the measurements after 10 years.

Rationale for Indicator Selection

Climate change is a global issue that calls for attention from governments, businesses, and civil society. Alcoa and Landsvirkjun are committed to limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their operations.

Aluminium production is energy intensive. The decision to use hydropower instead of energy from fossil fuels therefore greatly reduces GHG emission compared to what it would have been otherwise. Nevertheless, GHG emission (CO2 and PFCs) is considerable from industrial processes that take place during aluminium production.

GHG emission from the operation of the dam is mainly because of emission from reservoirs that takes place when vegetation is and soil is covered with water. Furthermore, some emission might take place due to leakage of SF6 from substations in the transmission system. There is also emission because of the combustion of fossil fuels used for vehicles and engines in both companies.

In 2007 a new Act took effect in Iceland, Act No. 65/2007 on the Emission of Greenhouse Gases. According to the Act, commercial activities that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, can not operate in the period from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2009 unless they have acquired a permit for emissions of greenhouse gases for that period. Alcoa Fjardaál falls into that category and the company has acquired emission permits from the Environment Agency of Iceland.