Christopher Braathen named aluminum plant manager at Hydro Cassopolis

Published 6:30 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

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CASSOPOLIS — Christopher Braathen has been appointed Operations Director for Hydro’s new aluminum recycling plant in Cassopolis.

Braathen comes from the role as Head of Recycling Process and Support in Hydro and has wide leadership experience from Hydro and externally. He replaces Ingrid Guddal, who was promoted to Head of Recycling, where she will oversee the strategy and direction for all eight of Hydro’s recycling plants in the U.S. and Europe, including Cassopolis.

Christopher started work remotely in January and will relocate to Cassopolis in April 2023. Braathen has wide experience from the automotive and aluminum industries. He first joined Hydro in 1997 at what was then Hydro Automotive Research Centre in Raufoss, Norway.

After two years within alloy development and technical support, Braathen held a wide range of management positions in what was then known as Hydro Automotive Structures, including production manager for bumper and crashbox production, production manager for extrusion, project manager for new equipment installations as well as project manager for new automotive product projects directly towards car companies like Mercedes, Volvo, and Nissan. This work included a two-year assignment to the U.S. at the production facility in Holland, Michigan.

Braathen joined the new owner, Benteler Automotive, when Hydro decided to divest the Automotive division in 2010. Here, he led the project and engineering department for four years before moving to Neuman Aluminium as Plant Manager for their automotive plant in Raufoss for three years.

Braathen rejoined Hydro in 2017 and has held several management positions in Primary Production and Recycling. He holds a MSc. in Physical metallurgy from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTH/NTNU) from 1996.

Hydro brings next generation recycling technology to the U.S. to serve growing EV demand. The state-of-the-art recycling plant in Cassopolis will strengthen Hydro’s ability to supply car makers and other industries in the U.S. with recycled aluminum. The project is on track for start-up during the second half of 2023. While electric vehicles are now a small percentage of the overall market, amounting to less than 3 percent of U.S. new auto sales last year, forecasters expect big increases in the next decade.

Hydro will invest an estimated $150 million to complete the project. Applications for the aluminum produced in Cassopolis will include critical automotive applications as well as other transportation uses, consumer and building system applications.

Production at Cassopolis will commence in 2023 with approximately 70 employees. When ramped up to full production, the plant will produce 120,000 metric tons of low-carbon aluminum extrusion ingot per year.