New technologies adopted – bigger, better and greener

27 March, 2019

Adoption of new energy-related technologies is a significant step towards Hindalco’s 2030 target of reducing specific energy consumption and emissions by 35%

Energy plays a critical role in the overall performance of Hindalco Industries Limited as it constitutes a third of the total cost of aluminium production. Aluminium is manufactured globally by electrolysis of aluminium oxide, a refined aluminium ore. Electrolysis is the only known commercial process of manufacturing aluminium; this single stage process yields 99.7% pure aluminium and requires a steady, uninterrupted power supply.

Earlier aluminium smelters were located close to hydro-electric power stations which supplied power to the smelters. However, the state electricity boards were unable to ensure the steady power supply needed for the process. This was also because of the slow growth of hydro-electric power in India because of environmental issues and large scale displacement of people. The states then encouraged aluminium and other power intensive consumers like steel manufacturers to install their own coal based power plants and leverage India’s abundant coal reserves.

A few years ago, Hindalco embarked upon a major expansion plan. Under the company’s sustainability plan, energy and emissions were the key factors that would drive sustainable growth. New technologies relating to these were explored for Hindalco’s green field projects. The best available technology has been adopted for Hindalco’s two new smelters at Mahan and Aditya.

Specific energy consumption of these smelters is around 13,400 kWh/t, which is close to the best achieved worldwide. This also reduces power consumption; the new smelters consume 30MW less power than the Renukoot smelter for equivalent metal production. The installation of improved process control systems has significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions with anode effect frequency below < 0.06/cell/day. To supply steady power to its smelters, new 150 MW turbines with 510 ton/hour reheat boilers have also been installed.

Adoption of these new technologies is a significant step for Hindalco towards achieving its 2030 aspiration of reducing specific energy consumption and emissions by 35%.

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