ZEAL: targeting lowest cost, lowest emissions alumina

Global decarbonisation goals, energy security and price pressures are combining to create significant headwinds for industries heavily reliant on fossil fuels. This is particularly the case for the alumina industry.

The electrification of industrial heating, however, can decouple energy and carbon intensity, enabling energy-intensive processes to reduce and eliminate carbon dioxide emissions. Calix’s core platform technology – capable of delivering efficient electrification of conventional carbon-intensive mineral processing – also promises to provide a robust solution for zero emissions alumina.

The opportunity: ~2% of global CO₂ emissions

The production of aluminium, a critical metal for many technologies, is amongst the most energy-intensive of industrial processes and contributes ~2% of global CO₂ emissions. In line with global net-zero commitments, electrification can eliminate the majority of the alumina industry’s carbon emissions by enabling 100% use of renewable energy inputs.

Electrification can also reduce costs, swapping volatile supplies of fossil fuels for increasingly low-cost local renewable generation, and increasing efficiency by removing combustion and enabling steam recycling.

Calix’s solution: calcination for the electric age

Calix’s Zero Emissions Alumina (ZEAL) technology is a unique, indirectly heated electric calciner designed to provide the lowest cost, lowest emissions, and highest efficiency solution for smelter grade alumina calcination.

Ideally suited to renewable energy sources and grid-load balancing applications, ZEAL builds upon many years of development of Calix’s core platform technology to replace inefficient and carbon-intensive combustion processes with clean, efficient, and precise electric calcination.

In addition to enabling zero scope 1 emissions, Calix’s ZEAL technology aims to deliver the lowest cost calcination solution to the industry through the elimination of fuel and combustion exhaust, elimination of hard face refractory, and steam recycling.

Sustainable Processing Manager, Michael Wheatland described Calix’s solution as next generation alumina calcination.

“It’s with great excitement that we take Calix’s platform technology and apply it to developing a sustainable and future-proof solution for the energy-intensive alumina industry,” Mr Wheatland said. “Our solution promises to deliver lower cost, lower emissions, and lower risk energy inputs.”

Fast-tracking commercialisation: feasibility studies are underway

Calix has successfully completed pilot scale testing of ZEAL. Feasibility studies are underway for both a 40T/hr demonstration plant and full-scale Calix ZEAL calciners.

Features & benefits

  • Electric calciner for smelter grade alumina
  • More efficient & cost-effective operations
  • No combustion
  • Sustainable & secure energy supply
  • Low particle breakage & alpha alumina
Calix was delighted to present a keynote lecture, “Alumina Calcination Using Renewable Electricity for Zero Emissions Alumina Production” at the recent 2024 Alumina Quality Workshop Conference and Exhibition in Dubai.
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