Conceptual design for lower-energy primary aluminum

Noel Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Operating parameters have been identified such that slag melts typical of other carbothermic aluminum processes are thermodynamically unstable. This facilitates the direct reaction of carbon in carbon-saturated aluminum with alumina under dispersed-contact high-intensity conditions. A conceptual design for one million tonnes per annum (1 Mtpa) aluminum production from Bayer alumina is developed. Freestanding graphite reactors and an ancillary plant encapsulated by inert gas are totally unconstrained within refractory-lined shells. Electrical conductive heating and melt circulation in closed loops, employing a 10 vol pct dispersion of fine carbon particles in aluminum (slurry), transports sensible heat to a single pressurized metal-producing reactor (MPR) to satisfy the endothermicity. In the proposed plant, an MPR at 0.28 MPa (2.8 bar) and 2433 K (2160 degrees C) with a hearth 2-m-wide x 190-m-long leads the melt via a barometric leg back to essentially atmospheric pressure, for further in-line processing. The impeller-stirred assimilation of fine carbon particles is followed by multistage gas-lift pumping to provide a 5.4-m total head, as required by two parallel straight-line melt-conductive heaters 1 m in diameter x 226 m in length. Overall energy-consumption figures 28.7 pct lower than today's more recently installed Hall-Heroult electrolytic plants are predicted, with 51.3 pct less purchased electricity, supplemented with 1.10 times the stoichiometric elemental carbon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-267
Number of pages22
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions B
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'Conceptual design for lower-energy primary aluminum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this