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Aluminium Portable Element Analyser

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PEA (Aluminium Portable Element Analyser)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-03-31

Founded in 2013 in Reykjavík, Iceland, DTE, is an innovation-driven European start-up, dedicated to the development of high technology equipment and systems for process and quality control in the aluminium industry. We have maximized the synergy between our team of experts and the aluminium sector through close cooperation with end users – global producers of primary aluminium – and strategic collaboration with the research and engineering community. To sustainably grow, we are committed in redefining problems to opportunities and providing creative solutions to our customers by thinking outside the box.
Our project, PEA, is based on the industrialization and commercialization of the next generation of process analytical instrumentation, capable to perform online real-time chemical analyses of molten aluminium and cryolite with optimum accuracy and repeatability. Our plan is to offer our PEA systems to primary and secondary aluminium producers, who are constantly seeking solutions regarding process efficiency, operation costs, worker safety and environment impact.
We have performed a Feasibility Study from December 2016 until end of March 2017 to analyze the key areas of our project.
On the technical side, based on our original developments and functioning prototype, we have further worked on the mechanical design and the control system optimization, focusing on performance, weight, portability, along with the industrialization aspect. We have carried out additional tests with smelters, evaluating the accuracy of the measurements, as well as quantifying the potential economic benefits and savings. We have also prepared the Execution Plan for the next stage of our project, covering tasks such as planning, budget, risk analysis and overall organization. We have performed a Freedom to operate analysis, which is required to check and validate the innovation of our technology. This analysis has confirmed the novelty of our technology and the absence of existing threat for its commercialization.
Commercially, we have studied in detail the global and European primary aluminium market (overview, geographic distribution key aspects and trends), along with the Test and Measurement equipment market, in view to prepare our marketing strategy.
Lastly, we have revised our business plan and financial projections to evaluate the profitability and return on investment in commercializing PEA technology. A SWOT analysis has been included.
Our Portable Element Analyzer addresses the core issues related to the primary aluminium production, i.e. its
energy cost and environmental impact, constraining factors that push for more efficient manufacturing. The main benefits of using PEA lie in the optimum control of the aluminium smelting process: by monitoring and continuously maintaining the correct balance in the smelting process, both energy and fluoride uses will be reduced, thus supporting the primary aluminium production industry towards resource efficiency.
Besides these clear benefits, in the medium to long term, the fact that less operators will be required – due to the simplification of the molten aluminium analysis steps –, along with the increased lifespan of smelting equipment – as the real-time monitoring will reduce the corrosion rate of the aluminium pots – and the elimination of extra costs from lab equipment (either as assets or subcontracting), will dramatically lower their operating costs.
Furthermore, replacing the current sampling method using hand-held ladle with our technology does not only impact on the energy, environment and operations, but also on the operators frequently exposure and closeness to liquid metal (up to 1,000°C) and its associated fumes (fluoride emissions). Mitigating these effects often carries significant cost for companies in the protection of workers.