16 September 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – In their efforts to grow an aluminium knowledge hub in Qatar, Qatalum and its partners hosted a Seminar to facilitate a cross pollination and transfer of ideas between the industry and academia. The objective is to inspire and engage students to participate in research with the ultimate goal for them to become aluminium experts in their own right.
The Seminar “Aluminium Value and Knowledge Creation” on 16th September 2014 highlighted technological advances and research in the aluminium electrolysis process. The Seminar was hosted by Hydro Aluminium, Qatalum and Qatar University. Additionally, researchers from the Centre of Advance Materials, Qatar University, undergraduate and graduate students from the same University and also from Texas A&M at Qatar presented their work related to aluminium.
The keynote address given by Reduction Manager Han Petter Lange who mentioned Qatalum’s above capacity production figure of more than 600,000 tonnes of premium aluminium per year. Lange credited this to Qatalum’s creation of a culture of continuous improvement that has led to a significant increase in efficiency and a lowering of its business costs, now rated 4th amongst all smelters in the world by CRU, a foremost market intelligence research organisation, and is a remarkable improvement from twenty second place in 2012. Lange reflected the Deputy CEO, Khalid Laram’s sentiment by saying, “This amazing feat can only be achieved by having competent and excellent personnel to operate this plant and I am very proud of Qatalum’s tremendous progress. To continue this marked increase in efficiency, Qatalum will invest in its local and international workforce and especially within the creation of an aluminium knowledge sphere developed by the academic sector in Qatar.”
Hydro Aluminium along with Qatalum have pledged to spread knowledge and competence of the aluminium sector within Qatar. The technology centre based at QSTP, headed by Dr Chris Devadas has been the catalyst in promoting aluminium research and technology in Qatar. Dr Devadas mentioned that, “We have established a strategic partnership with CAM (Centre for Advanced Materials) at Qatar University to promote aluminium in Qatar and the GCC. The partnership aims to give participants a hands on experience to aluminium smelter operations, process optimization, environmental controls, recycling, and to the behavioural performance of aluminium as an end use product. We believe this will enable them to be great ambassadors and employees within the aluminium industry, a metal with endless possibilities”.
The technology centre has several projects in its research portfolio. The Environment Project in particular, demonstrated the inherent cooperation between institutions that Qatalum is eager to support. The team included Professor Haarberg, the Qatalum/Hydro Chair at Qatar University, Dr Are Dyroy of Hydro, other scientists from Hydro and SINTEF (The Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research, Norway), along with Hans Petter Lange, Reduction Manager at Qatalum and several other process engineers and students. The strategy of combining resources was to collectively research methods on improving the aluminium electrolysis process by identifying the causes for variability leading to inefficiencies and subsequently reducing their impact. “Both Qatar University and the TAMU students teamed-up for the project and gained knowledge and experience working at the Qatalum smelter while conducting structured research resulting in statistically quantifiable results.
‘Highlights of the projects run by the technology centre have been committed student involvement, aptitude towards attaining quality results through teamwork and the professionalism shown within Qatalum,’ concluded Chris Devadas.
Qatalum produces over 600,000 tons of high-quality primary aluminium products per annum. Qatalum’s complex facilities include a carbon plant, port and storage facilities, as well as a captive power plant. The state-of-the-art cast house produces value-added products such as extrusion ingots and foundry alloys that meet the stringent quality standards of Qatalum’s global customer base. Used in a variety of industries including the automotive, construction, engineering, and in the manufacturing of consumer goods, by the end of its journey, Qatalum’s aluminium reaches the entire global community.
Qatalum has a dynamic and diversified work force, representing over 37 nationalities and is pursuing industrial diversity for Qatar and its people by actively creating a future of environmental sustainability and economic opportunity.