The CSIRO yesterday announced it had joined forces with five Australasian universities to research sustainable energy-efficient technologies for the aluminium industry.
The program will combine CSIRO scientists with researchers from Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Auckland, the University of New South Wales, the University of Queensland and the University of Wollongong.
According to the research body, primary production of aluminium is very energy intensive, so reducing the amount of energy used will improves the industry’s competitiveness.
The researchers will investigate design improvements for high temperature aluminium reduction cells.
This includes new materials for sidewalls and cathodes, improvements to process control, non-consumable anodes and multi-stage high temperature production.
The announcement was welcomed by Australian Aluminium Council executive director Miles Prosser.
“Maintaining Australia’s position as a global force in the aluminium industry is a key priority and we are pleased to see research that will maintain our competitive advantage,” he said.
“Advances such as improved cell materials, non-consumable anodes and improved process regulation mechanisms will contribute greatly to the ongoing viability of the aluminium industry.”
The collaboration is an initiative of CSIRO’s National Research Flagships Collaboration Fund, which involves a collective investment of more than $8 million over a three year period.
Australia exported more than $5 billion worth of aluminium metal in 2008.