Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial project in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, has completed a three-year, $300 million project to replace older production lines at its Jebel Ali aluminium smelter with the company’s own UAE-developed technology, boosting production capacity and reducing costs and environmental emissions.
All EGA’s 2,777 reduction cells, the swimming-pool sized tanks in which aluminium is smelted, now run on home-grown technology.
EGA produces one tonne in every 25 tonnes of aluminium made worldwide and makes the UAE the world’s fifth biggest aluminium producing nation. Aluminium is the largest made-in-the-UAE export after oil and gas.
EGA has focused on innovation for over 25 years and has used its own technology for smelter expansions since the 1990s, including the construction of EGA’s Al Taweelah smelter in Abu Dhabi which was the largest in the world when built.
The 520 reduction cells at Potline 1 and Potline 3 at EGA Jebel Ali were the company’s oldest and were originally built from 1979.
The new reduction cells each have the capacity to produce 20 per cent more aluminium than those they replaced, with 10 per cent less specific energy consumption to make each tonne of metal.
The new reduction cell’s technology also reduces emissions of perfluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas generated in the aluminium smelting process from anode effects, by 96 per cent.
The project boosts EGA’s production capacity by over 58,000 tonnes of aluminium per year.
The execution of the modernisation project took six million man-hours of work, and was finished without a single Lost Time Injury.
Abdulla Kalban, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at EGA, said: “This project to replace older reduction cells with UAE-developed technology boosts our competitiveness as one of the largest ‘premium aluminium’ producers in the world as the new reduction cells can produce more aluminium with less energy and with lower emissions. The most important achievement for me though was that a continuous focus on safety meant this challenging project was completed without hurting anyone.”
The replacement work at Potline 1 and Potline 3 was conducted progressively in 16 separate sections, to minimise the time reduction cells were out of production. The first stage took 55 days, but this was accelerated to just 38 days by the final section.
EGA’s latest technology, the 10th generation since the company’s technology development programme began, is amongst the most competitive in the global aluminium industry.
Last year EGA became the first UAE industrial company to license its technology internationally, in a major milestone for the development of a knowledge-based economy. Aluminium Bahrain selected EGA's technology for its new Potline 6 following a competitive tender.
In 2016 EGA produced 2.5 million tonnes of aluminium, a record for the company.