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ArticleName Electrolytic production of aluminium. Review. Part 1. Conventional areas of development
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2020.02.04
ArticleAuthor Gorlanov E. S., Brichkin V. N., Polyakov А. А.

EKSPERT-AL LLC, Saint Petersburg, Russia:

E. S. Gorlanov, Deputy General Director, Candidate of Engineering Sciences, e-mail:


Saint Petersburg Mining University, Saint Petersburg, Russia:
V. N. Brichkin, Head of the Metallurgy Department, Doctor of Technical Sciences, e-mail:
А. А. Polyakov, Postgraduate Student, e-mail:


This paper provides a review of the main areas of development in the conventional production of primary aluminium, analyses the many years of attempted commissioning of new-generation aluminium cells equipped with inert electrodes and considers some innovative approaches to improving the Hall – Heroult process. This part of the review demonstrates that starting from 1990s and till the present day the development of aluminium cells has been related to an increasing unit power. Another trend that has been observed is a rising current efficiency and a decreasing power consumption, which is the result of consistent efforts to optimize the cell design and the process and is due to the application of innovative materials and automatic control systems. At the same time, there have been significant changes in terms of electrolyte composition and temperature and the superheat versus the melting point. Alumina and fluoride point feeders, dry gas purification systems and effective cell covers have been introduced. Busbar have been improved to mitigate the effect of magnetic fields and maintain the stability of liquid aluminium cathode. These improvements helped boost the cell performance with the current efficiency risen to 96% and the specific power consumption dropped to 12.0–12.5 kW·h/kg Al. Further decrease in the power consumed by conventional design cells would require the use of a wettable (drained) cathode and a special technology to help dissipate heat from the outside of the cathode shell.

keywords Super-power cells, areas of development, indicators, design and technology, specific power consumption, current efficiency, inert electrodes

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