The licensing by Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) of its in-house developed and proprietary DX+ Technology to Emirates Aluminium Company Limited (EMAL) has today been formalized through the signature of a contractual agreement between the two companies. In effect, DX+ Technology has been specified for and will be installed in EMAL Phase II – which comprises an additional 444-cell potline within EMAL’s existing smelter premises in Al Taweelah, Abu Dhabi.
The agreement marks a historic milestone for DUBAL, being the first industrial scale installation of this new generation smelting technology. Based directly on DUBAL’s proven, inherently robust DX Technology (installed in the two potlines comprising a total of 756 cells in EMAL Phase I), DX+ Technology is the product of a remarkably short design, modelling, testing and optimization process. Five pilot DX+ Technology cells were built and commissioned in the Eagle section of DUBAL’s Jebel Ali site between June and August 2010. In July 2011, just one year later, EMAL announced that Phase II of its operational plan would proceed; and that DX+ Technology had been selected for the project.
“Our decision to install DX+ Technology came after the completion of the EMAL Phase II Front End Engineering and Design (“FEED”) study, conducted in the first half of 2011,” says Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei (CEO: EMAL). “The increased productivity offered by DX+ Technology cells (compared to DX Technology cells) made it a very attractive option for fulfilling our expansion ambitions: with DX+ Technology, we could achieve our desired production capacity increase by building just one additional potline. Whereas our two existing DX Technology potlines operate at 353 kA and have the total capacity to produce 750,000 metric tonnes of molten primary aluminium per annum, our new third EMAL potline will operate at 420 kA initially, yielding 520,000 metric tonnes per annum. Start-up of the new line is scheduled for the first quarter of 2014.”
Initially operating at 420 kA, the amperage in DUBAL’s pilot DX+ Technology cells has been increased to 430 kA over the past 3 months. The cells’ performance is stable, with excellent performance parameters being achieved. “In essence, DX+ Technology is an enhanced version of DX Technology,” says Abdulla Kalban (President & CEO: DUBAL and Vice Chairman: EMAL), with evident pride. “In fact, DX+ Technology cells are very similar to DX Technology cells in most aspects, but are larger in size – which effectively increases the productivity per square metre of the potroom by more than 17 per cent. Accordingly, DX+ Technology offers similar advantages to DX Technology in terms of current efficiency, energy consumption and environmental performance indicators, plus the added advantage of higher productivity at a lower capital cost per installed tonne of capacity.”
Kalban adds that plans are in place to increase the amperage in DUBAL’s DX+ Technology cells to 435 kA by the end of 2011; and to even higher levels in 2012 – ultimately operating at up to 460 kA. Al Mazrooei confirms that the potential for the operating amperage of DX+ Technology increasing to this level was factored into the design component of the EMAL Phase II FEED study, with the project including expansion of EMAL’s onsite power plant capacity from 2,000 MW to 3,000 MW.
Presently, the DX+ Technology pilot cells at DUBAL are performing in line with or better than their DX Technology predecessors. The industrial version of DX+ Technology is targeted to achieve even better performances, making this yet another UAE flagship development from DUBAL and a benchmark for the aluminium industry.
As with the company’s licensing of DX Technology to EMAL Phase I, DUBAL will provide extensive technology transfer and technical support to EMAL Phase II. This will include the development of a comprehensive DX+ Technology implementation and operation package, coupled with on-site consulting and operator training as necessary.