Turning ideas into results
September 20, 2016


SOVAR is pleased to announce that the group led by Professor Duygu Kocaefe of the Department of Applied Sciences, at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) was awarded a total of $262,400 in additional funding for a project that SOVAR has been involved in further developing for over three years. The group received $100,000 in cash from CQRDA combined with in-kind contributions of $152,400 from Dynamic Concept and $10,000 from Aluminerie Alouette.

The funding will allow the university scientists to pursue, in collaboration with their private sector partners, the development of a technology to improve the quality of anodes used in the production of aluminium thereby contributing to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The technology determines the distribution of electrical resistivities in anodes so that precise information on their homogeneity is provided, which is key to crack detection. The next step in this technology development project is expected to be the testing of the prototype assembled with several industrial anodes in order to validate the technology. Resistivity measurement of several baked and unbaked anodes will be performed with the goal of establishing prototype reliability, identifying possible problems and initiating corrective action as required.

Aluminium production consumes carbon anodes that must be replaced after 20 to 25 days of operation. A significant problem arises when anodes are cracked as this leads to an increase in electrical resistivity with a subsequent increase in energy costs. Major cracks may cause even greater problems in electrolytic cells, which can result in a significant loss in productivity. Overconsumption of anodes caused by their inferior quality has a huge impact on energy consumption as well as on the production of greenhouse gases from aluminium plants. When completed, the project is expected to lead to the production and use of higher quality anodes.