Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the UAE outside oil and gas, has joined Australian research centre HILT CRC to support study into the decarbonisation of alumina refining.

HILT CRC (Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre) is working on technological breakthroughs in the decarbonisation of the steel, iron, alumina and cement industries.

EGA is HILT CRC’s first industry partner with operations entirely outside Australia, and joins 50 other partners across industry, research and government organisations for collaborative research. 

In alumina refining, HILT CRC is focusing on decarbonising the production of steam for digestion, and calcination. The two processes account for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions from alumina refineries and are the most significant decarbonisation challenges at EGA’s Al Taweelah plant, the UAE’s only alumina refinery.

EGA was the first aluminium producer in the Middle East to join the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), and the first to achieve a site certification to the ASI Performance Standard.

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of EGA, said: "Joining HILT CRC enables EGA to participate with the Australian alumina refining industry in finding technological solutions to the toughest decarbonisation challenges in alumina refining. EGA has a long history of partnering with others on research and development, and we are continuing this approach as we strive towards net zero by 2050.”

EGA also operates aluminium smelters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and a bauxite mine and associated export facilities in the Republic of Guinea.

HILT’s CEO, Felicity Lloyd, said: "EGA’s alumina refinery is one of the most modern in the world and is integrated with one of EGA’s world-scale aluminium smelters. EGA can make an important contribution to decarbonisation research including to the benefit of the Australian alumina industry. We look forward to collaborating on new technology developments and solutions to help the alumina industry to fully decarbonise."

HILT CRC was established in June 2021 with the award of AUS$39 million of government funds over 10 years, adding to the investment of approximately AUS$41.6 million cash and AUS$118.4 million of in-kind from its partners.

Australia is the world’s second largest alumina refining country and the largest alumina exporter.

(Writing by SA Kader; Editing by Anoop Menon)