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The Aluminum Cell Technology in Alba’s Potline 6 Performs Above Expectations

Albal Potline 6

Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) announced that select pots in its new Potline 6 have passed the final performance tests with results exceeding the guarantees under the technology transfer agreement between Alba and Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA).

The company officially inaugurated its new potline in November 2019, following its initial commissioning in December 2018. Completed in 23 months (record time compared to the average of 30 months for other similar industrial projects), Potline 6 will boost Alba’s annual production by 540,000 tonnes, bringing its total production capacity to 1.54 million tonnes per year — making it the world’s largest single-site aluminum smelter outside of China.

DX+ Ultra Technology

Alba selected the DX+ Ultra technology developed by EGA in 2016, with the aim of boosting metal production at Potline 6.

DX+ Ultra is the tenth generation of EGA’s proprietary aluminum smelting technology, offering more than double the productivity of D18, the company’s first cell technology developed in 1990. The new technology introduces various voltage drop initiatives that address the key aspects of energy consumption within a reduction cell, enabling it to achieve substantially reduced specific energy consumption than earlier generation cells.

“We selected EGA’s smelting technology because it was the best in the world for our Potline 6,” said Ali Al Baqali, acting CEO of Alba. “We are also pleased that the performance of EGA’s technology has exceeded our expectations.”

Per the contractual terms of the agreement, the cells installed in Potline 6 were expected to operate at 460 kA. However, the line is currently operating successfully at 465 kA — when the current efficiency achieved is 95% with energy consumption standing at 12.87 kW hours per kg of aluminum produced.

In addition, the line has outperformed on some of the other parameters, as well. The production capacity of each reduction cell is 11% than guaranteed, while specific energy consumption (the electricity required to produce each tonne of aluminium) is 1% better than promised. This represents a significant reduction for an energy-intensive smelting process.

“We are very proud of our team for establishing a new benchmark for potline start-up in the industry as we have managed to start about 4.5 pots per day at some point then reaching a peak of 8 pots per day,” said Al Baqali. “We thank EGA for being our technology provider for Alba’s Potline 6 as well as the exceptional results of the final performance guarantee tests. Utilizing EGA’s DX+ Ultra – one of the most efficient technologies in the world — has contributed to reduce overall Green House Gas emissions, which is in line with our sustainability objectives towards the environment.”

The successful implementation of DX+ Ultra at Alba is not only a boon for the aluminum industry in Bahrain, but also for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — since EGA is the first industrial company in the UAE to license its core process technology internationally. “The export of EGA’s industrial technology to Alba was historic for our company and for the UAE,” said Abdulla Kalban, managing director and CEO of EGA. “I congratulate all of the EGA’s technologists who have worked to develop our technology over the years, and the team that was deployed to help implement it in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We are proud that our technology is performing even better than we promised during the commercial negotiations.”

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