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Rusal Pledges to Install Modern Gas Cleaning Systems

Rusal Bratsk smelter DGCS© by UC Rusal, photo shows opening of the DGCS at Bratsk

UC Rusal plans to install over 20 state-of-the-art dry gas cleaning systems (DGCS) at its smelters by 2025. These advanced systems were developed by the company’s design and scientific divisions and the new equipment will allow the company to capture over 99.5% of hydrogen fluoride and solid fluorides.

“This project is truly unique thanks to our patented design solutions, enabling Rusal to complete the switch to utilizing our own dry gas cleaning systems as part of our EcoSøderberg technology implementation,” said Victor Mann, Rusal’s technical director. “This innovative new technology outperforms the existing foreign analogues and delivers a superior performance, both in terms of RUSAL’s sustainability footprint and overall efficiency characteristics.”

The project to retrofit Rusal’s smelters with its own DGCS was launched in 2016, with systems being implemented at the company’s industrial sites in Shelekhov and Novokuznetsk. In October 2019, the Bratsk aluminum smelter put into operation another DGCS, developed and manufactured by the design and scientific divisions of Rusal-SibVAMI in Irkutsk and Rusal ITC in Krasnoyarsk. It is expected that another 17 DGCS will be assembled and put into operation at the Bratsk, Novokuznetsk, and Irkutsk aluminum smelters.

A DGCS in operation at the Bratsk aluminum smelter.
A DGCS in operation at the Bratsk aluminum smelter.

Ongoing Environmental Action

The installation of the DGCS is a part of Rusal’s larger environmental action plan for the period spanning ‪2020-2024.

The company’s ongoing efforts to improve its sustainability were recognized in June 2019, when it achieved the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) Performance Standard and Chain of Custody Standard for three of its facilities. The three plants includes the Bratsk aluminum smelter, Kamensk-Uralsky alumina refinery, and the JSC Boksit Timana bauxite mine.

In October, Rusal announced that it had processed and sold over 50% of the waste generated by its smelters during the last ten years. The processing level of the red and nepheline mud at the alumina refineries amounts to about 10%, and the processing of spent coal potlining exceeded 60% in 2018. The company aims to sell 100% of all the commercially demanded waste from its plants. To achieve this, Rusal is taking measures to increase cooperation and expand its partnerships with leading industrial manufacturers around the world.

The company also continues to test innovative technologies for processing red mud, which contains valuable metal oxides, including scandium. In 2018, the technology was refined, which resulted in the degree of recovery increasing and the consumption of basic reagents reducing. In 2019, the optimization of the technology continues to develop, further reducing the cost of the scandium oxide production, while achieving industrial production volumes.

“Reducing the volume of waste, limiting waste generation, increasing processing and recycling are all key elements of the company’s strategy to boost its sustainability efforts and reduce its impact on the environment,” stated Mann. “For example, Rusal’s Sayanogorsk industrial site already processes or sells over 90% of waste produced. The ongoing development and implementation of new technologies, which are now in the final stages of testing, as well as the modernization of our production facilities will allow to set such ultimate tasks to other facilities of the company.”

Also in October, Rusal planted 500,000 trees in the Irkutsk region as part of its Green Million project, which will ultimately see the company plant a total of 1 million trees in Siberia.

“Today, the attention to climate change issues has reached an unprecedented height,” said Evgenii Nikitin, Rusal’s CEO. “Rusal was one of the first Russian companies to include the carbon footprint reduction objective in its long-term strategy.”

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