Prof Jie Bao, Prof. Maria Skyllas-Kazacos and Prof. Barry Welch were awarded a 1 million dollar research grant on Power Modulation of Aluminium Smelting Processes.

The aluminium smelting process is very energy intensive. Australia’s smelting industry consuming 29.5 TWh of electricity in 2007, representing 13% of total electricity generated in Australia. The aluminium industry is facing significant challenges - variable availability of the electrical energy, particularly with increased penetration of renewable energy sources which are intermittent. This project develops a solution to power balancing and power security by using the aluminium smelters as virtual energy storage – reducing the aluminium production rate and thus power consumption when power supply does not meet the demand and increasing the production rate when power supply exceeds demand. This will help remove the road block towards renewable energy generation and reduce the cost of aluminium production.

This project is supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) through its Research Hub for Integrated Solutions to Energy Storage (whose Virtual Energy Storage theme is led by Prof. Bao) and our industrial partner Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA).