Qatalum’s Aerated Distribution System is industry leading

ADS wows annual Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) meeting in San Diego

​Qatalum has presented its Aerated Distribution System (ADS) to over 4,300 industry leaders at the annual Minerals, Metals & Materials Society meeting in San Diego. Presenting a paper entitled "Start-up and Tuning of Material Distribution System at Aluminium Smelter in Qatar", published in Light Metals 2014.

The Aerated Distribution System (ADS) at Qatalum has been in operation since 2009 and has seen significant process stability. It is designed to convey alumina from the Secondary Alumina Silo at the Fume Treatment Plant to the different cells in the potrooms.

3D Schematic of the Qatalum ADS designed to convey Secondary Alumina from the FTP Silo to the Pots

The Material Distribution System was started as scheduled and is still running under full production capacity. Through key findings and improvements made by the end user (Qatalum) and by joint coordination with the technology providers, the system's performance has met expectations and operational needs.

The first electrolysis cells at Qatar were started in 2009 and by 2011 the system was running at full production capacity.
The secondary alumina is transported from the four day silos within the Fume Treatment Plants by the Aerated Distribution System (ADS) to the pot superstructures inside two potrooms.

In comparison to other material distribution systems, the ADS is found to require less maintenance and less human intervention, and collection of more data and investigation is still ongoing to map the long term performance of the system and its interaction with other process parameters and will be presented in the future.

The start of Qatalum in 2009 saw the largest aerated distribution system at that time, designed to supply secondary alumina from silos to 704 electrolysis pots with a total design output of 585,000tpa based on fluidized air-slide conveyors. In the article the technology of the aerated distribution system is briefly described to show its uniqueness and advantages.

The main focus in "Start-up and Tuning of Material Distribution System at Aluminium Smelter in Qatar" is experiences during the first operation of the ADS, highlighting challenges and breakthroughs; and how it was possible to optimize the system to be more functional than projected, especially under the Middle Eastern conditions. It includes the measures taken to achieve this target and the lessons learned. 

Qatalum's ADS has certain key advantages over some alternative models. There is no risk to the potline, easy catch up after stoppage, easy maintenance, low manpower required, low maintenance cost of 0.126 USD/ton of alumina, over 99% system availability, environmental friendliness, and lack of accumulation of coarse particles in the system due to screening.

Distribution systems for alumina in the aluminium industry follow fundamental bulk solids transport principles. The technical paper focuses on some of the parameters that influence the performance of the distribution processes and highlights the operational experience with the system. The data collected, challenges met and experience gained from this start-up and early years of operation will prove helpful for future installations.

The Qatalum team involved in authoring the paper. Starting from the left: Santosh Kumar, Reduction Operational Support Manager - Supporting Author and Reviewer; Rahul Jain, FTP&MDS Process Supervisor - Supporting Author & key data collection; Julian Sowah, Superintendent, FTP & MDS - Author & Presenter; Vivek Shroff, FTP&MDS Process Supervisor - Supporting Author & key data collection and Hans Petter Lange, Reduction Group Manager - Final Reviewer