Rusal invests in pilot plant for fine precipitated aluminium hydroxide

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Rusal completes the preparation for the construction of a pilot plant to produce innovative material for the cable industry at its Achinsk Alumina Refinery (AGK).

The pilot with a capacity of 5,000 tpy will produce fine precipitated aluminium hydroxide (FPAH). Project investment will amount to over RUB500m (USD7.8m).

The testing in a lab has confirmed the high quality of the product, says Rusal, and because of the positive feedback from customers the company has decided to construct a pilot plant twice the size that was originally planned. “The demand for FPAH in Russia and around the world grows gradually every year. This is why we expect that the new production will reach the designed capacity by the end of 2021, and then we will be able to offer the environmentally friendly and cost-competitive product to an extensive pool of customers. In addition, if the demand increases, we can build up the FPAH production capacity at the second project implementation stage,” said Rusal’s CEO Evgeny Nikitin.

Fine precipitated aluminium hydroxide is a powder with particles of less than 3 μm. Its physical and chemical properties make this material an excellent fire retardant. Therefore, aluminium hydroxide is widely used in the production of silicate wool for cables for the nuclear, ship building, aviation and automotive industries. It is also used in the production of paints and lacquers, high-quality paper and polymer compounds for various applications.

Global consumption of FPAH exceeds 800,000 tpy and grows by more than 4% per year. Russia’s FPAH demand exceeds 30,000 tpy, and currently 100% of the product are exported. The project of Rusal will become the first domestic FPAH producer.

The Russian FPAH production process is Rusal’s know-how invented by the Engineering and Technological Centre of the company. In 2017, specialists produced the first batch of FPAH at a large laboratory-scale plant.

In addition to the low cash cost FPAH has good environmental characteristics as the production process does not generate waste and does not emit sulphur and nitrogen oxides and dioxides.

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