New furnace cuts emissions

The new carbon bake, furnace 4, under construction at Boyne Smelter Alumina, Boyne Island.
The new carbon bake, furnace 4, under construction at Boyne Smelter Alumina, Boyne Island. Brenda Strong

AS THE Boyne Smelter nears completion of a $685 million upgrade that will allow a new benchmark in productivity and environmental performance, Observer photographer Brenda Strong was taken on a guided tour of the facility.

Ms Strong come out of the tour with a stunning array of images captured in the aluminium smelter.

She said the sheer scale of the smelter made it an incredible place for photography.

"It's about a kilometre long and to see it in an enclosed building and all the cells going all the way down, it was pretty cool," she said.

Boyne Smelters Limited has been in operation since 1982.

It produces more than 550,000 tonnes of aluminium each year.

The aluminium is used across a range of industries including aerospace, mass transportation, automotive, marine, building construction, electricity transmission, wind-power generation, recreation and leisure.

We know not everybody is excited by industrial-scale engineering, but BSL is particularly proud of its latest achievement - a rebuilt furnace.

The smelter currently has three carbon bake furnaces that produce the carbon anodes needed to make aluminium.

BSL has rebuilt one of the existing furnaces and is replacing two others with a new, improved furnace.

The new furnace is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20,000 tonnes a year.

Other emissions will also be significantly reduced.

Earthworks for the new carbon bake furnace began in January 2008 and it is due to be finished in April, 2012.

In 1997, BSL underwent a $1 billion expansion to increase its aluminium production from 260,000 to more than 550,000 tonnes a year.

This work, which is now more than 80% complete, includes construction of the new carbon bake furnace, replacement of overhead cranes, a crane runway upgrade within the reduction lines and an improved alumina transport system to the reduction cells.

BSL says these projects will modernise and extend the life of facility.

Topics:  boyne smelter upgrade

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