Renewables for industryProject Mechanical Vapour Recompression for Low Carbon Alumina Refining
This report outlines a path to commercialisation for MVR application in the alumina industry. The commercialisation path was developed on a case study of the Wagerup alumina refinery and then extrapolating the findings from this to other refineries in Australia. MVR has the potential to be applied to new (grenfield), existing (brownfield) refineries and to retrofit existing refineries.
The alumina refining sector is currently a significant fossil fuel energy user and Green House Gas (GHG) emitter, with around 70 per cent of GHG emissions coming from fossil fuel-driven process heating in the Bayer refining circuit. Displacing the fossil fuels used for this process heating with a renewable energy source would reduce the Australian alumina industry emissions by approximately 10 Mt CO2-e per annum.
Decarbonisation is a critical focus area for the alumina and aluminium industries. There is growing expectation from society that industry demonstrate how it will significantly reduce its greenhouse gas footprint, and in parallel the demand for low-carbon footprint alumina and aluminium products is expected to grow. The operators of Australian alumina refineries have announced 2050 net zero carbon ambitions along with substantive interim goals. Achieving these goals requires decarbonisation of the Australian alumina industry.