UC RUSAL has announced the launch of pilot operation of eight new generation RA-550 pots at Sayanogorsk Aluminium Smelter.

The total amount of investment in the project amounted to USD 30 mln.

The project to develop the technology and launch the RA-550 site at SAZ was implemented within three years.

The key advantage of this new development made by the Technical Directorate of RUSAL is its high energy efficiency. RA-550 consumes 10-15% less electricity versus pots of previous generations. Due to design and technological solutions, RA-550 became lighter, more compact, and more environmentally efficient. The RA-550 technology applies a number of innovative engineering solutions that define the new standard of the industry:

·Fundamentally new busbar design with two-side current supply that ensures a symmetrical magnetic field and high MHD stability without using a compensating loop.

·'Modular busbar principle' that lifts restrictions for creating higher capacity pots.

·Maximisation of metal production per unit of area in the premises due to establishing a new pot width standard.

Barry J. Welch, Professor of the Auckland University, New Zealand, a world's leading expert in technology of aluminium production using high-capacity baked anode pots, was invited for independent expert appraisal of the design, technology and pot maintenance methods on the pilot RA-550 site at SAZ. The Professor has already had experience in working with RUSAL: he audited RA-300 and RA-400 technologies.

Professor Barry J. Welch commented: 'The RA-550 project development period and its implementation, as well as operational maintenance meet the cored world standards. As early as at this stage, the RA-550 technology can be recommended for implementation at new smelters with the amperage of 525 kA confirmed at the prototypes'.

Victor Mann, Technical Director of RUSAL, commented: 'The successful launch of the RA-550 technology is a true breakthrough event for RUSAL. Its distinctive feature is lower electricity consumption and the best environmental indicators among all companies of the industry. Given the competitiveness of this project and its parameters, this technology can be demanded both during upgrading the existing smelters of the company and when constructing new facilities'.

According to the designed capacity, a RA-550 pot will produce 4.21 tonnes of aluminium per day that is almost twice the level of the RA-300 technology applied at Khakas and Boguchany Aluminium Smelters.

To implement the import substitution programme, equipment and materials of domestic production were used as much as possible when developing the RA-550 technology.