PyroGenesis Canada Inc. has announced that, further to its press release dated April 20th, which provided an update on its Aluminum Business offerings, the Company has undertaken a joint initiative with a premier applied engineering and process optimisation firm in the global aluminium industry. This Agreement is focused on utilising PyroGenesis’ zero-emission plasma torches in carbon anode baking – a vital upstream step in the aluminium production process.

The name of the Client remains anonymous for confidentiality reasons.

PyroGenesis’ 150KW plasma torch will be placed inside a pilot system at the Client’s renowned research centre. This pilot system has been used to conduct optimisation tests for many of the world’s top aluminium producers.

The Client is one of the world’s leading consulting engineering firms specifically focused on the optimisation and improvement of furnace and furnace combustion processes at aluminium plants. In particular, the Client is focused on improving processes, lowering costs, and improving the quality of carbon anodes – the conductive material used in the electrolytic production of primary aluminium.

In aluminium production, a smelter needs approximately 425 kg of carbon anode – which is consumed during the smelting process – to produce one ton of primary aluminium. The demand for anodes is so significant that several stand-alone manufacturers of high-grade anodes, as well as anode baking systems, are on-site at major aluminium producers and in constant operation – baking new anodes, of up to 6 feet in length and weighing 1.2 tons each1,2. As a result, improving and optimising this anode baking process is a key objective in the industry, and the Client considers PyroGenesis’ plasma torches as part of that solution set.

“Once again, we have yet another Agreement underscoring the applicability, and timing, of PyroGenesis ’offerings within the aluminium industry,” said Mr. P. Peter Pascali, CEO and Chair of PyroGenesis. “Global aluminium producers face increasing metal demand, rising energy costs, higher market prices for high-quality aluminium, and new restrictions to meet carbon emissions targets. This agreement is a direct result of our increased sales efforts and R&D, targeting innovative new uses of our ultra-high heat expertise and plasma-based solutions. As stated in our aluminium business line update release of April 20th, the upstream opportunities are numerous and continue to provide additional opportunities for PyroGenesis’ plasma processes. In this particular case, the Client has informed us that a typical anode baking furnace of 3 fires requires 144 gas burners of 200kw each, with the largest anode baking plants operating up to 7 furnaces with 4 fires each. This clearly illustrates the magnitude of this opportunity.”

Under the scope of this agreement, the performance of PyroGenesis’ plasma torches will be analysed, and the temperature distributions and flame characteristics will be determined. The results will provide third-party validation of the potential in replacing conventional oil and gas burners in carbon anode baking facilities with PyroGenesis’ plasma torches.

“The potential to replace, at a single plant, more than 1000 gas burners with our clean plasma torches, is significant both in terms of (i) productivity and (ii) emission reduction,” continued Mr. Pascali. “As such, we look forward to undertaking this project together with our Client – a neutral, independent highly regarded engineering and technology firm, who has been recommending improvements to the aluminium industry for almost half a century.”