Home » EGA joins Australian cooperative research centre, HILT CRC, to advance research into decarbonisation of alumina refining

EGA joins Australian cooperative research centre, HILT CRC, to advance research into decarbonisation of alumina refining

by Mohammad Ghazal

Emirates Global Aluminium, the biggest ‘premium aluminium’ producer in the world and the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, has joined HILT CRC to progress research into the decarbonisation of alumina refining.

HILT CRC (Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre) is an Australian cooperative research centre bringing together industry, researchers and government to achieve technological breakthroughs in the decarbonisation of the steel, iron, alumina and cement industries. Australia is the world’s second largest alumina refining country and the largest alumina exporter.

Joining international research and technology providers, EGA is HILT’s first industry partner with operations entirely outside Australia. EGA’s Al Taweelah alumina refinery began production in 2019 and is the only alumina refinery in the UAE. EGA also operates aluminium smelters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and a bauxite mine and associated export facilities in the Republic of Guinea.

EGA was the first aluminium producer in the Middle East to join the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), and the first to achieve a site certification to the ASI Performance Standard.

In alumina refining, HILT CRC is focusing on decarbonising the production of steam for digestion, and calcination. The two processes account for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions from alumina refineries and are the most significant decarbonisation challenges at EGA’s Al Taweelah alumina refinery.

EGA is committed to reaching net zero by 2050 in line with the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, and has a roadmap to decarbonise all its operations.

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of EGA, said: “Joining HILT CRC enables EGA to participate with the Australian alumina refining industry in finding technological solutions to the toughest decarbonisation challenges in alumina refining. EGA has a long history of partnering with others on research and development, and we are continuing this approach as we strive towards net zero by 2050. I look forward to some ground-breaking results from this collaboration.” 

HILT’s CEO, Felicity Lloyd, said: “EGA’s aspirations to be measured amongst the world’s most responsible metals and mining companies and their roadmap to reach net zero emissions by 2050, shows strong alignment with HILT CRC’s mission and strategy. EGA’s alumina refinery is one of the most modern in the world and is integrated with one of EGA’s world-scale aluminium smelters. EGA can make an important contribution to decarbonisation research including to the benefit of the Australian alumina industry. We look forward to collaborating on new technology developments and solutions to help the alumina industry to fully decarbonise.”

HILT CRC was established in June 2021 with the award of AUS$39 million of Australian government funds over 10 years, adding to the investment of approximately AUS$41.6 million cash and AUS$118.4 million of in-kind from its partners.

EGA joins 50 other partners across industry, research and government organisations who through HILT CRC will perform collaborative research dedicated to developing and demonstrating low-carbon technologies that will help transition the steel, iron, alumina, and cement industries to decarbonise heavy industry and grow the economy. 

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