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This new process promises substantial savings for aluminum production

By Paul Grad |

Calsmelt Pty Ltd. (Melbourne, Australia; www.calsmelt.com) is marketing a new carbothermic process for producing metallic aluminum. Tradenamed Thermical, the process is said to entail significant advantages over Alcoa’s carbothermic process, the Advanced Reactor Process (ARP). Under development for several years, carbothermic technology aims to eventually displace the standard Hall-Héroult electrolytic cell process, leading to reduced capital and operating costs, reduced process energy, and reduced CO2 emissions for smelting. Calsmelt says its Thermical process, while also called a carbothermic process, is in detail fundamentally different from previously proposed carbothermic processes. The process operates at temperatures about 500°C lower. According to Calsmelt, it allows reduced capital costs by up to 80%, reduced operating costs by about 40%, and lower power consumption by about 40%. Fluoride emissions will be completely eliminated, and the quantity of generated gases will be significantly lower. The ARP process developed by Alcoa is a multistage system in which a molten slag bath containing alumina (Al2O3) and carbon is reacted to produce aluminum carbide (Al4C3) in a low temperature stage. The resulting Al2O3-Al4C3…
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