A major competitive advantage of RUSAL is its in-house R&D, engineering and design resources, which enables the company to develop its scientific ideas and turn them into cutting-edge technologies, state-of-the-art equipment and technically advanced facilities.
RUSAL’s research takes place at the Krasnoyarsk-based Engineering and Technology Centre and Russian Aluminium and Magnesium Institute, based in Saint Petersburg and Irkutsk. RUSAL also collaborates with Russia’s leading educational institutions: Moscow and Saint Petersburg State Universities, the National University of Science and Technology and Irkutsk State Technical University. In June 2010, RUSAL signed a five-year agreement with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The company also places R&D orders with the Russian Academy of Sciences and its regional branches.
The engineering and construction works are held by the Russian Engineering Company and the Engineering and Construction Company, both part of RUSAL.
|Concept design stage||Feasibility study development||Project realisation: construction / modernisation works||Project commissioning||Maintenance|
Idea development: RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre, the Russian Academy of Sciences
Applied research, technology development: RUSAL Engineering and Technology Centre, Moscow State University, Russian Aluminium and Magnesium Institute in Saint Petersburg and Irkutsk
|Selecting and verifying a technology: RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre||Fine-tuning technology and getting relevant approvals: RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre, Russian Aluminium and Magnesium Institute in Saint Petersburg and Irkutsk||Technology management: RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre||Technology management: RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre|
|Developing pre- feasibility and bankable feasibility studies||Producing materials and relevant equipment: Russian Engineering Company||Producing materials and relevant equipment: Russian Engineering Company|
|Preliminary engineering, design works, procurement, construction, project commissioning: Engineering and Construction Company, Russian Engineering Company||Project commissioning: Russian Engineering Company|
|Reaching nstalled capacity|
|Taking the project forward to reach installed capacity: Russian Engineering Company|
The company strives to boost capacity through raising the efficiency of its existing technical resources. In 2010, RUSAL developed and adopted a technical policy which defines the major trends for the company’s innovative growth.
RUSAL is the proprietor of a number of energy-efficient smelter technologies including RA-300, RA-400 and RA-500 which cut energy consumption, drive down emissions and boost production efficiency.
The company is also taking steps to improve the traditional Soederberg reduction process. RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre has developed a new generation of Soederberg cells that use colloidal anode paste instead of coal anodes. The new “Clean Soederberg” technology reduced the impact on the environment and boosted the cells’ efficiency. The “Clean Soederberg” technology is currently being introduced at RUSAL’s largest smelters.
RUSAL’s major innovation project is the development of a groundbreaking inert anode technology which will make the smelting process much more eco-friendly. Thus, greenhouse gas emission will have been reduced by 100%. The main by-product, stemmed by the new type of cells, will be pure oxygen. A single cell, using the inert anode technology, will be able to produce the same amount of oxygen as 70 hectares of forest. The new technology should be introduced as early as 2015.
Furthermore, RUSAL is enhancing the structure of the reduction cell. A project to create a unique cell with vertical anodes is now underway at RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre. The new technology will ensure a more efficient use of the production space and minimize energy consumption. The Engineering and Technology Centre is also implementing a project to boost the cells’ energy efficiency through reshaping its bottom. Adding texture to the bottom of a cell will ensure a sizeable cut in energy consumption.
Aluminium alloys, which are used to create a wide range of products for end users, are now seeing a strong growth in demand. RUSAL places a strong focus on boosting alloy production and plans to raise its share of value-added products to 75% out of the overall output. RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre is taking steps to widen the range of alloys offered by the company. The major projects in this field include; alloying aluminium with rare-earth and transition metals to create light and highly conductive wires and developing a technology to produce aluminium alloys with excellent physical and mechanical properties for automotive industry.
RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre is developing a technology to recycle red mud, a waste product from the Bayer refining process. Red mud contains a lot of useful elements, including ferrous oxide, titan and other metals. The technology for recycling red mud will resolve the issue of its expensive storage and create an additional source of profit for alumina refineries.