Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global aluminium waste headache solved

31.05.2002


An Australian research team has solved one of the world’s big industrial waste headaches - what to do with spent pot lining (SPL) from aluminium smelters.


In a major advance for sustainable mineral production, the "Alcoa Portland SPL Process" developed jointly by Portland Aluminium, Alcoa, Ausmelt and CSIRO renders the hazardous waste harmless and at the same time produces two commercial by-products.

Aluminium smelters worldwide produce about half a million tones a year of the toxic byproduct which, in many cases, simply has to be stored on site because local regulations prevent its disposal in landfill.

Now the Australian breakthrough has turned what was an intractable problem into economically useful products.



Aluminium fluoride produced by the process will directly replace a portion of the expensive imported aluminium fluoride used in the smelting process - significantly reducing purchase costs for this material.

Another product, "synthetic sand", has received Environment Protection Authority approval for unrestricted use and is expected to be used road-making and concrete production.

SPL project manager, Mr Ken Mansfield, says the company is delighted with the outcome.

"Treating SPL is a costly process, but achieving such an environmental breakthrough, where the by-products partially offset the processing costs, is an outstanding result."

Mr Mansfield said Portland Aluminium had 75,000 tonnes of SPL stored safely in secure containers and specially ventilated buildings. "But we couldn’t go on storing it for ever, so in 1989 we started seeking suitable treatment options. That was when we approached CSIRO, to comb the world for a process that would meet our environmental, technical and economic goals".

"When it became clear there wasn’t anything suitable worldwide, we began our own joint research, which led in 1992 to our trialling the Ausmelt technology."

Ausmelt Limited was established in the early 1980s by a former CSIRO researcher Dr John Floyd to commercialise his submerged-lance smelting technology - SIROSMELT.

SIROSMELT is a fast and efficient method of processing nonferrous metals based on a submerged combustion process. Fuel and gases are injected through a lance, the tip of which is submerged into the molten material in the furnace. The fuel combusts at the tip, heating and melting the incoming feed materials, and the injected gases cause vigorous agitation and rapid reactions.

Globally there are now 30 smelting plants using the core SIROSMELT technology which are used primarily for copper, zinc, lead and tin smelting which process more than 3 million tonnes per year of metallic concentrates.

In the processing of spent pot lining, typically operating at around 1250 degrees Celsius, the submerged lance technology has proved ideal for releasing the fluorine contained in the spent pot lining for conversion to other products. The process also destroys any cyanide that may be present.

The Portland Aluminium SPL team had to overcome many technical challenges, including finding a way to produce aluminium fluoride from the gases liberated by the process. Later, when the pilot reprocessing plant began operating, problems had to be solved in handling the gases and by-products.

The success of the process has attracted world attention and is being considered by other aluminium smelting organisations for the effective disposal of SPL.

Rosie Schmedding | EurekAlert
Further information:
http://www.ausimm.com.au/green2002/html/program.html

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Quick, Precise, but not Cold
17.05.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht A laser for divers
03.05.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>