AA IAR: Inert Anode Roadmap
SDO: AA: The Aluminum Association Inc.
DOD Adopted ANSI Approved Approved
Aluminum is one of the most versatile materials available today that can meet the demanding requirements of tomorrow's products. Its light weight, high strength, and corrosion resistance make it ideal for applications in automobiles and trucks, rail, aerospace, containers, construction, electric transmission, and infrastructure. When used in transportation vehicles, it can greatly increase the energy efficiency of our Nation's transportation sector. Aluminum's success in recycling has also made it a model for sustainable materials. However, the production of primary aluminum continues to be quite energy intensive. Furthermore, the use of carbon anodes in the smelting process generates undesirable carbon dioxide and perfluorocarbons.
While past technology improvements have greatly increased the current efficiency of aluminum cells up to 96%, the industry continues to pursue research to increase energy efficiency, improve productivity, and reduce emissions in primary aluminum production. In particular, the international aluminum community has pursued the development of non-consumable, or inert, anode technology for many years. If successful, this technology would have clear advantages over conventional carbon anode technology, including the following "best estimates":
• energy efficiency increases of up to 25% (when coupled with a stable, wetted cathode)
• operating cost reductions of up to 10%
• greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 7 million metric tons of carbon equivalent in the United States
• productivity increases of up to 5%
This technology is particularly relevant today as nations around the world look for technologies that can help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases without compromising economic growth and product quality.
Although not absolutely required, retrofit capability is highly desirable of any new inert anode technology. The technology holds great promise for brownfield capacity additions and retrofit applications in North America. However, the largest impact may ultimately be realized in the application of inert anode technology to greenfield aluminum smelting projects throughout the world. Undoubtedly, the latest, most advanced technology will be adopted for any greenfield smelter project.
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