RA-550 cells

RA-550 is a reduction cell with a breakthrough design for smelters and upgrade projects at RUSAL’s existing smelting capacities.

In 2016, five pilot cells were launched at RUSAL’s Sayanogorsk Aluminum Smelter. The pilot cells use a completely new busbar design using two-side current feed anode risers, providing for efficient magnetic field compensation in aluminium metal pad and excellent MHD stability without using additional magnetic field compensation.

The pilot cells are meeting and, indeed, exceeding the industry’s benchmark environmental parameters. Today’s key performance indicators confirm that RUSAL has developed a competitive, highly-efficient ultra-high-amperage cell technology that can be used both for greenfield and brownfield projects. Plans are to continue testing the RA-550 technology, including amperage increase up to 570 - 600 kA and optimising energy efficiency over the next two years.

Inert anode

The use of inert anodes in the aluminium smelting process is a ground-breaking technology, capable of revolutionising the global industry. The introduction of RA-550 superpower cells at RUSAL’s facilities will contribute to the task of reducing the energy intensity of aluminium production.

The major advantages of inert anode technology include:

  • Complete elimination of greenhouse gas and polyaromatic hydrocarbon emissions
  • Over 10% reduction in operational costs through reducing anode and energy consumption
  • Over 30% cut in greenfield projects expenditure costs

In 2016, the RA-550 cell was launched at RUSAL's Sayanogorsk aluminium smelter. The main advantage of this type of cell is high energy efficiency, consuming 10-15% less power than the previous generation of cells. According to the design plans and specifications, the RA-550 cell will produce 4.21 tonnes of aluminium per day, which is approximately twice as much as the RA-300 cell currently used by the production facility. New technical solutions to remove gas from the cell will improve eco-efficiency and reduce the volume of waste arising from major repairs by over 30%. The technology will be implemented primarily at the Sayanogorsk and Krasnoyarsk smelters.

Clean Soederberg

In 2009, RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre designed a new generation of Soederberg cells, reinvigorating the traditional production technology. The new technology was named ‘Clean Soederberg’ and significantly cut emissions as well as increased production efficiency.

The new technology’s major improvement over its predecessor is the use of colloidal anode instead of traditional anode paste. Colloidal anode contains a much lower amount of pitch, which is the main source of tar substance emissions. A further advantage is the enhanced cell structure that also helps to reduce emissions.

The key advantages of Clean Soederberg technology include:

  • Reduction of hazardous emissions (fluoride emissions are cut by 75%)
  • 7% cut in anode consumption
  • An over 30% cut in fluoride aluminium consumption

Scandium oxide

Scandium oxide is a high-melting rare-earth oxide. When alloyed with aluminium, the resulting alloy provides superior resistance to heat and thermal shock.

Experts at RUSAL Engineering and Technology Centre have developed a unique carbonisation technology for scandium extraction from red mud. The scandium oxide produced will be used for the production of aluminium-scandium alloys at RUSAL’s smelters.

Scandium has vast potential in the aerospace, transport and energy industries.  As of 2016, global consumption of scandium oxide is estimated at 10-15 tonnes per year. In this regard, RUSAL has plans to develop a modular unit capable of increasing capacity to keep up with market demand. The production will rely on the Company’s own raw material base and will fully meet demand not only in Russia, but also globally.