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Siberian scientists create environmentally friendly way of manufacturing aluminum

Researchers from the Siberian Federal University (SFU) together with colleagues from the Institute of Chemistry and Chemical Technology from Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the world’s second largest aluminum company RUSAL have come up with a new binding material for use in aluminum smelting. When compared to similar substances, the newly obtained material contains far less carcinogens.
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The chief benefits of this development are a high production yield and notable decrease in cancer-causing emissions during the manufacture of aluminum.

At present, there are several ways manufacturers smelt aluminum. One of the most popular techniques is connected with the help of self-baking anodes. Using this method, anodes are burned with the help of electrolysis, consisting of low-ash coal with a 25−35% content of pitch — the residue from coal distillation. However, the major downside to this method is severe environmental pollution, chiefly within the work zone and surrounding residential areas.

The research by Krasnoyarsk scientists have made it possible to create an environmental friendly coal-tar pitch, and the first trial batch of the material has been already prepared. Now, the experimental trials are in progress. As a next step, the new coal-tar pitch will be tested directly under industrial conditions. RUSAL is planning to switch its aluminum smelting plants to the new coal-tar pitch implying that it should be produced in an amount, which would be large enough to supply the technological process with new anodes.

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