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Light metal project at Herøya awarded NOK 60m from EU

Asunción (Suni) Aranda, of the Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), heads up the AlSiCal project, the aim of which is to develop and verify a technology for reducing the environmental impact from the production of aluminium, silica and calcium carbonate.
man standing in pilot facility "Together with Rolf Olaf Larsen, Director of Pilot Arena Herøya, we are laying the ground for testing operations at the Herøya pilot plant in 2020," says Asunción (Suni) Aranda, of the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) and Chief Scientist and Project Manager for the AlSiCal innovation project.

This is to be done by using alternative mineral resources, according to an IFE article on its website.

16 partners from 9 countries are participating in this ambitious research and innovation project, financed to the tune of some NOK 60m by the EU's Horizon 2020 programme.

Piloting at Herøya

With the help of EU funding, the AlSiCal project is seeking to further develop the patented Aranda-Mastin (AM) technology. 

group photo of all partners involved in the EU project
16 partners from 9 countries, including Rolf Olaf Larsen, Director of Pilot Arena Herøya, launching the AlSiCal project on 1 September at the Institute of Energy Technology (IFE) in Kjeller, Norway. Project Coordinator, Suni Aranda (centre, white jacket)

Pilot Arena Herøya is collaborating with the partners in piloting and verifying sub-processes of the technology, which permits the joint production of the three important raw materials, alumina, silica and precipitated calcium carbonate.

The technology is climate-friendly and suitable for the scarce resource and climatic challenges involved in aluminium production. The technology makes use of alternative mineral resources as raw materials, e.g. the rock anorthosite, and production has no red sludge waste (red mud/bauxite tailings) and very low carbon dioxide emissions (CO2).

Benefits of piloting at Herøya

Aranda can think of many benefits of performing piloting at Herøya.

"We can start building directly. Specifically, we are currently discussing the equipment and reactors we need to upscale the first stage of the process. Lab trials are under way, which we shall be gradually expanding to higher pilot scales during 2020," she says.

"The pilot is a good match for us and Herøya, and the timing is great for both of us," Project Manager Aranda explains. "We also have positive experience from previous cooperation with the industrial and research environments here. We have performed test operations together with Nordic Mining, Gassnova and Bilfinger, and enjoyed technical cooperation with Sintef TelTek. It was my personal wish to develop this project in cooperation with Herøya," she says.

Well prepared

four men talking in a pilot hall
Rolf Olaf Larsen, Director of Pilot Arena Herøya is well prepared and looking forward to the piloting process. Larsen, second from left, together with the management and owner of Herøya Industrial Park and Minister for Trade Thorbjørn Røe Isaksen, during a visit to the pilot facility in July 2018.

"We have long been involved in developing a new technology platform able to produce CO2-free production of light metals at Herøya, and have also been in dialogue with the Minister for Trade regarding assistance in financing a pilot plant here. Even though the use of anorthosite is new in this process, much of the processing equipment is the same. We have ample skills,  networks and a good processing platform, so we can make an effective contribution to the piloting of the Aranda-Mastin technology. For us, it is a wonderful opportunity to play the part of pilot arena here," Larsen says.

Strong upscaling candidate

Aranda thinks that Herøya will be a strong candidate when it comes to up-scaling the whole process.

"If we manage to get the sub-processes to work technically, financially and environmentally, I think that, in the long run, Herøya will be an obvious top candidate for covering the whole process.  We can both see the potential for up-scaling here. It is a really good match and a win-win situation with the potential for learning more for both parties in the AlSiCal project," she concludes.


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