Worn out anode forks from aggressive alumina smelting conditions require efficient repair processes since they contribute around 16% of the heat lost during electrolysis. Currently, most of the repair is handled manually, giving room for human error, inconsistencies and high labour costs. There is also a high carbon footprint from the manual propane cutting and transportation of forks to a distant rodding plant.
The concept of our project, Auto-Anode, hinges on integrating automated anode repair modules, and at least doubling the speed, accuracy, efficiency, safety and accountability of the process. It will eliminate propane use and the need to transport forks to a separate workshop, thereby reducing the carbon footprint by ca 48t CO2 pa.
Automation for the various stages has largely been validated. The challenge lies now in ruggedising the machine vision and integrating the system. Undoubtedly, a properly integrated Auto-Anode system will be a game changer for the aluminium smelters, with yearly savings of up to €30 per ton of produced aluminium, and for our company, generating an accumulated net profit of €21.65 million by 2024. Besides compound savings by smelters, Europe could save up to €4.5million from potential imports of aluminium and give an edge in the lightweight automotive race, while cutting on greenhouse emissions. Imminently, SMEs within the value chain can enjoy increased profitability since the price of locally produced aluminium will be lower. Global savings of up €13million pa are possible due to the use of Auto-Anode.
To ensure a widespread uptake of this advanced process technology, beyond assuring technical, seamless excellence, we will carry out a detailed market study; conduct a technology watch and IPR strategy; consolidate supply chain partners; detail the exploitation and dissemination plan and finally elucidate the overall business plan.
Fields of science
- H2020-EU.2.1.2. - INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Nanotechnologies Main Programme
- H2020-EU.2.1.5. - INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies - Advanced manufacturing and processing
- H2020-EU.2.1.3. - INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies - Advanced materials
- H2020-EU.2.3.1. - Mainstreaming SME support, especially through a dedicated instrument
Call for proposalSee other projects for this call
Funding SchemeSME-1 - SME instrument phase 1
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