Cooperation in the re-use of an industrial by-product

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Emirates Global Aluminium and Gulf Extrusions cooperate in the re-use of an industrial by-product, spent caustic soda.

The two companies have signed a cooperation agreement for the re-use of an industrial by-product, spent caustic soda, in EGA’s production process, replacing the use of fresh raw material and improving efficiency. Gulf Extrusions will supply EGA with some 450 t of spent caustic soda from its Abu Dhabi and Dubai extrusion plants each month for use in alumina refining.

In aluminium extrusion, caustic soda is used to dissolve residue aluminium in the extrusion dies and to etch aluminium profiles in the anodization process. Spent caustic soda from Gulf Extrusions is rich with dissolved aluminium. Previously, this by-product required extensive treatment at Gulf Extrusions, resulting in an aluminium-rich sludge that was supplied as an additive to cement manufacturers in the UAE.

Re-use of industrial by-product reduces environmental impact of both companies

In alumina refining, caustic soda is used to dissolve the aluminium content of bauxite ore. The innovative approach, jointly developed by the two companies, removes the need for treatment and re-uses the aluminium content of the by-product, making it a cradle-to-cradle solution. It also slightly reduces EGA’s requirement for fresh caustic soda and bauxite for the Al Taweelah alumina refinery.

EGA CEO Abdulnasser Bin Kalban: “Finding ways to re-use waste takes innovative thinking and close cooperation between companies and industries. But solutions like this agreement with Gulf Extrusions reduce the need for fresh raw material and are part of how we can address our global waste management challenge. The first priority must be eliminating waste generation, but we must think of waste we cannot avoid creating as a potential resource today rather than as our children’s problem.”

Christian Witsch CEO of Gulf Extrusions, said: “EGA’s re-use of spent caustic soda to make full use of the aluminium content of this by-product will reduce the environmental impact of both our companies. I believe this is the first time in the world that an extrusion company is supplying this by-product to an alumina refinery for re-use, and I am proud that Gulf Extrusions is part of this innovative sustainability initiative.”

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