Evidencing the true value in excellence-based partnerships, a power generation and energy management system modernization project undertaken by Dubai Aluminium DUBAL and GE has been rewarded with the top honours in the “Best Brownfield Technology” category of the American Metal Market’s Awards for Aluminium Excellence. The award was presented to company representatives on 12 June 2012, during the 2nd Annual Aluminium Summit, which was hosted by leading metals publication, American Metal Market, in New York from 11 to 13 June this year.
The 2012 Awards for Aluminium Excellence programme recognizes the most innovative companies in the field across multiple categories, with the adjudication panel featuring leaders in the international aluminium industry. The winning DUBAL-GE project comprised a complete overhaul of DUBAL’s power management and generation operations, with the aim of securing energy- and cost-savings. At the outset of the initiative in 2007, power generation accounted for fully one-third of DUBAL’s operating costs – a statistic which not uncommon, given the extremely energy-intensive nature of the primary aluminium smelting industry. A substantial reduction in power generation costs was nevertheless vital to sustain the company’s growth trend while enabling it to become more competitive around the world.
By installing GE’s XA-21 SCADA energy management system and upgrading DUBAL’s GE Frame 9Band 9E turbines, substantial success has been achieved. For example, power output has increased by 22.69 per cent (an additional 75 MW); the heat rate has improved by 10.44 per cent (representing an annual savings of US$4 million in fuel costs); and management of DUBAL’s 2,350 MW power station is more efficient (the system availability rate exceeds 98.98 per cent).
“With the price of energy currently at its highest level in the past decade, and set to continue rising, these savings are pivotal to our sustainability strategy of remaining one of the world’s lowest-cost primary aluminium producers,” says Abdulla Kalban (President & CEO: DUBAL). “Moreover, the savings on electricity expenses enabled by the enhancements to our power generation and management translates into a very pleasing three-year recovery of the project costs. We are thrilled at the success of the project, and delighted at receiving this prestigious award.”