The Pechiney reduction cell family: 25 years of development in design and process control

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 1062, 2002

C. Vanvoren

Since 1975, the Aluminium Pechiney Research Centre at Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (LRF) has been concentrating its efforts on designing, testing and perfecting the Aluminium Pechiney point-fed prebaked reduction cell. In 1979, the AP18 cell (180 kA) was industrially launched with the construction and start-up of the F line in Saint-Jean. The following generation, the AP30 (300 kA), with prototypes started in 1981, was launched in 1986 on the Saint-Jean G line. Along with cell design, efficient process control systems were developed to pilot alumina feeding and bath composition. Together, these pots are currently producing 4.6 Mt of aluminum, i.e., 18% of the world’s overall yearly production. In 1989, the research centre faced a new challenge: to push the limits for the size of a reduction cell to further improve the profitability of Greenfield projects. This new generation development was also the opportunity for a significant redesign of the Aluminium Pechiney electrolysis information system. With a track record of ten years of semi-industrial operation with three prototypes, the AP50 technology is now ready for industrial implementation and enables a significant breakthrough to be made in terms of return on investment of a Greenfield smelter.
Mots Clés: Aluminum, Reduction cell, Process control, Design, Aluminum Pechiney