Across the world, Aluminium producers are committing to achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in line with global initiatives and targets. These activities are occurring at both an individual level and through global consortia, and most of the worlds alumina producers have made commitments to supporting and developing one technological pathway or another. Much of the focus is being placed on alternative steam generation systems, electrical or hydrogen-fired calciners or kilns, heat and electrical storage systems and so forth. These initiatives are well-funded and managed, and it is inevitable that unit operations based on these technologies will eventually become available for use in “refineries of the future.”
But what of the massive existing investment in current alumina refining capacity? How best should these systems be integrated in current operations, and what other infrastructure will be required? How much of the existing infrastructure is suited to serving these alternative unit operations, in terms of metallurgical suitability, control systems, measuring devices, instrumentation, safety protocols, electrical or fuel distribution systems and the like? The potential list of affected sub-systems and processes is immense.
Are we ready for tomorrow’s low-carbon technologies? And do we sacrifice some of the existing heat and energy minimization systems if these technologies are implemented? What do we not know that we don’t know?
The purpose of this workshop is to leverage the convergence of some of the top technical minds in the alumina industry at one location at Alumina2024, to explore these issues and to highlight the low-level technical activity that needs to happen in parallel such that the industry is ready when the new calcination and digestion technologies or fuels become available, and to develop programs to address these issues.