people lined up with shovels breaking ground
Beatriz Landa, vice president of metal procurement and recycling, Novelis North America, is at the far left.
Photo courtesy of Novelis

Novelis breaks ground on Kentucky recycling center

With annual casting capacity of 240,000 tons of sheet ingot, the facility is expected to reduce Novelis’ carbon emissions by more than 1 million tons annually.

May 2, 2022

Novelis Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, has broken ground on a $365 million investment in a highly advanced recycling center in Guthrie, Kentucky, that will be able to cast 240,000 tons of sheet ingot for its automotive customers per year. The company says the facility is expected to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 1 million tons annually and to add approximately 140 jobs.

The site is adjacent to Novelis' existing automotive finishing plant in Guthrie, which currently employs 150 people and is expected to grow to 190 employees over the next two years.

Novelis first announced its plans for the center, which will allow the company to grow its closed loop recycling programs with its North American automotive customers and be able to process aluminum from end-of-life vehicles, in January.  

Beatriz Landa, vice president of metal procurement and recycling for Novelis North America, told Recycling Today earlier this year that the investment to produce its own recycled-content automotive aluminum ingots will allow Novelis to become “more sustainable and more independent in the market.”

Regarding the technologies the site will employ, she said, “We’re looking at a lot of things,” including readily available technologies such as LIBS, or laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, and XRT, or X-ray transmission. “And then we’re looking at some other solutions that are pretty innovative,” Landa told Recycling Today, declining to elaborate.

"This groundbreaking marks a major milestone in our ongoing commitment to sustainability and recycling and also supports our automotive customers' carbon reduction targets," says Tom Boney, executive vice president and president of Novelis North America, in a news release about the event. "The commonwealth of Kentucky continues to be a great partner to Novelis. We are proud to build on the rich 40-year history of our aluminum recycling operations in Kentucky and look forward to deepening our relationships to ensure our facility has a lasting, beneficial impact in the region." 

Novelis says the new recycling center is expected to be operational in 2024 and will be equipped with industry-leading processes and capabilities, including advanced shredding and sorting technology, as well as energy-efficient innovations to support its sustainability goal to reduce energy intensity by 10 percent by 2026 and be net carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner.

"We're grateful to have celebrated this occasion with our employees, community leaders and the great Commonwealth of Kentucky," says Tom Lilienthal, Guthrie plant manager.

Attending the event were Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Andy Beshear, Rep. Jason Petrie, Rep. Thomas Massie, Morgan Alvey from Sen. Mitch McConnell's office, Corey Elder from Congressman James Comer's office, Guthrie Mayor Jimmy Covington and Judge Todd Mansfield.

"I was thrilled to be a part of Novelis' groundbreaking on their new state-of-the-art facility that will create over 140 jobs for Kentuckians and allow the company to grow its recycling programs to serve customers all across the U.S. I look forward to watching Novelis' continued success in the commonwealth and the economic prosperity it brings to Guthrie," Paul says.

Novelis operates a number of plants in Kentucky. In addition to its Guthrie automotive finishing facility, Novelis operates an aluminum beverage can recycling plant in Berea, Kentucky, and the Logan Aluminum joint venture in Russellville, Kentucky, employing 1,600 people in the state.

"I am very pleased to have the opportunity to take part in this ground-breaking ceremony today for a project that will create 140 quality jobs for Kentucky residents," Beshear says. "Novelis has seen rapid growth in our state, and this new recycling center in Todd County emphasizes the company's commitment to sustainability and job creation in the commonwealth. I want to thank the leaders at Novelis for this latest long-term commitment in our incredible workforce."