Case study: Providing energy savings for an alumina production facility

Case study: Providing energy savings for an alumina production facility

The customer

Our customer is one of the largest integrated producers of alumina and aluminium in Asia, and ranks in the top five aluminium producers in the world. Their low cost but high-quality solutions are used in a wide variety of industries, including automotive, building and construction, defence, electricals, pharmaceuticals and white goods. Their 1182 acre alumina plant, established in 1969, comprises three rotary kilns, two with 3.05m diameter and one with 1.98m.


The requirement

The customer expressed their concern around growing maintenance costs and fuel bills when it came to running their kilns. Consistently reaching internal temperatures of upwards of 1250°C, they are required to carry out repairs on the high-temperature zone every year. It was vital that a sustainable solution be found to support in reducing ongoing maintenance costs and ensuring that the kilns were running as efficiently as possible, helping them to maintain their low production costs and pass this saving onto their customers.

The customer had not changed their method of insulation for around 2 decades, so in order to ensure success and to demonstrate return on investment, they chose to work with us to design and implement a solution on a section of their 1.98m diameter kiln as a pilot project.


Our solution

We worked closely with the customer to develop a solution based on our Elmtherm microporous insulation. Elmtherm is a microporous composite sheet of mica and specially designed ceramics. It’s incredibly light, flexible and easy to install, but it’s also durable and has superior thermal properties – our premium solution can withstand temperatures of up to 1600°C.

In order to achieve this customer’s desired savings whilst keeping within their budget, we provided 5mm thickness Elmtherm to repair the 13m hot face of their 1.98m diameter kiln. Further savings could be realised by increasing the thickness, but having worked closely with them to assess the savings opportunity and their budget, we collectively decided that the 5mm thickness would be sufficient.


The outcome

Feedback from the customer was overwhelmingly positive – after repairing the hotface of their 1.98m kiln, they were able to demonstrate an ROI in just 14 days.

After the initial investment of 6000 Euros to implement the insulation, the customer was able to demonstrate a return on investment within 14 days of installation. These savings are based on a repair on 13m of the 1.98m diameter kiln – which has a total length of 56m. With further repairs carried out on the remainder of the kiln, ROI could be even more significant. If you would like more technical information about the installation and the customer’s savings, get in touch.


The future

Overall, in carrying out repairs on just one section of one of their rotary kilns using our innovative Elmtherm solution, the customer has significantly reduced maintenance costs, fuel consumption and their environmental impact.

Together we have also identified a number of other opportunities for implementing the Elmtherm solution elsewhere in the plant, or in their other facilities – including reduced the external temperature of the ladle and torpedo ladle, improving efficiency and extending the life of the lining, and tundish backup, enhancing the life of the working refractory.


If you would like to find out more about how the Elmtherm solution could help you reduce costs and realise significant energy savings, get in touch.