More Sustainable Aluminum? It’s in the Can.
From soda cans to window frames to automobile engines, aluminum is immensely popular with drinks companies, architects, carmakers, and many others. That’s because it’s versatile and lightweight (which in turn means using aluminum offers better vehicle fuel efficiency). As a result, aluminum is the second most used metal after steel. However, making aluminum requires a lot of energy, thereby affecting its carbon footprint.
With consumers, manufacturers and governments all looking to operate more sustainably, aluminum smelters – and especially Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) – are working hard to find ways to operate more efficiently in order to lower the environmental impact of their product.
EMAL continuously invests in the best sustainable technologies and emission controls. Some examples include steps to curb CO2 output by 70% compared to fossil-fuel powered smelters, an environment-monitoring program to assess air and local conditions, deploying DX Reduction Cell technology which saves energy, a waste reduction strategy to maximize recycling, re-settlement of local wildlife to suitable habitats, and encouraging contractors to use appropriate materials.
One of the most recent steps taken includes signing a Master Research Agreement with Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in November 2011, as well as four specific research projects, all of which seek to further reduce EMAL’s environmental impact.
And just this month, GE has received contracts totaling $500 million to provide equipment and long-term services, directly and via engineering procurement contractors, for EMAL’s smelter complex. The project is expected to result in lower emissions, addressing the UAE’s goal to achieve cleaner and more efficient industrial growth and enabling EMAL to produce aluminum with better fuel efficiency.
GE will supply gas and steam turbines, generators and a plant-wide control system for the Phase 2 expansion project that will position EMAL as one of the largest single-site aluminum producers in the world. In addition, GE will provide its latest technology upgrades for the GE gas turbines currently operating Phase I of the EMAL complex. The technology upgrades will include GE’s latest DLN 2.6+ combustion technology, which is expected to lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, as well as extend the lifespan of gas turbines parts by up to three times.
Learn more here about GE technologies that help power plants operate more efficiently.