Refining Design

More environmentally friendly aluminium refining is in the works, as researchers at the University of Adelaide partner with Alcoa to investigate the possibility of integrating concentrating solar thermal (CST) technologies into the Bayer alumina refining process.The $15.1 million research project is getting $4.5 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The aim is to develop the technologies and process knowledge to enable the integration of both low and high temperature concentrating solar thermal, and solar reforming of natural gas into the existing Bayer aluminium refining process. Anticipated cost increases of natural gas and other non-renewable energy sources, and the carbon footprint associated with their consumption, mean that alternative, next-generation solar technologies are becoming more appealing to industry, Natural gas usage also results in greenhouse gas emissions and higher carbon footprint.

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