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Incorporating Solar Energy Into an Aluminium Smelter’s Energy Mix: A study using Aluminium Bahrain
Dalarna University, School of Technology and Business Studies, Energy Technology.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis was aimed at studying the possibility of integrating solar energy in to an existing aluminium smelter in the Kingdom of Bahrain owned by Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA). The smelter was powered by its own in-house natural gas fed power plants. ALBA was chosen as the subject of the study for of two reasons. Firstly, the power station at ALBA was similar in technology to those powering the national grid. Secondly, the nominal power of ALBA was not dissimilar to that of the national grid. This meant that the techniques and technologies investigated were useful in the context of the national grid as well. A literature review was initially conducted to better understand how the current aluminium smelters work, what the possibilities were for introducing solar energy and what has been done previously. The study used publically available information to deduce the energy consumption of the ALBA smelter on an annual basis. For the year 2011 this was found to be in the order of 15.2TWh when ALBA had 2,249MW of nominal plant capacity installed and had consumed about 132MMBCF of natural gas. With the planned pot-line 6 expansion an additional 1,792MW capacity would be added with the corresponding additional gas use and increased energy output. The completion of pot-line 6, scheduled for Q1 2019, would also make ALBA the world’s largest single-site aluminium smelter.  This energy demand information was then used with PVSyst and System Advisor Model simulation software. The aim was to determine what photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) energy plants capable of meeting ALBA’s needs would be in terms of power, energy outputs and land usage. Although powering a modern aluminium smelter is possible with today’s solar technology, the area of land required would be very large. It was deduced that using PV fixed tilt arrays, a PV plant of 9.2GWp would be required to deliver the annual energy requirements of ALBA covering a theoretical land area of some 200km2. Utilising CSP plants of central tower and concentric heliostat design would need about 358km2 whereas parabolic trough collector technology would need about 240km2. However a CSP plant utilising linear Fresnel collectors would need about 105km2 of land area. These contiguous land areas are not available in the Kingdom of Bahrain and so alternatives would have to be studied for locating such plants. Another issue would be to find a robust and reliable storage technology to power the plant during the evenings and other times of low solar resource.  It was found that the existing roof areas of ALBA’s pot-lines and cast house would be sufficient to house a PV plant of 6.5MWp utilising standard 250Wp PV modules. This would be larger than the largest plant currently installed in the country which stands at 5MWp developed by Bapco. The plant would produce some 9.7GWh of energy per average year and could be utilised by ALBA. Alternatively, the PV plant could be connected directly to the national grid and thus provide another source of income to ALBA whilst helping in the national drive for harnessing renewable energy. It should be noted that there are more suitable roof areas available at ALBA meaning that the PV plant size could be larger and if more powerful modules are used, the nominal plant capacity would also be increased delivering more annual energy. Due mainly to time constraints, it was not possible to investigate some areas that were highlighted during the course of the study. These included plant costs, energy storage options, modelling and simulating CSP derived heat injection into gas power turbines, water usage requirements and mitigation techniques and the technologies for maintaining the collectors clean and reflective in the harsh desert climate of the country. These are all areas for further work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-26302OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-26302DiVA: diva2:1142701
Available from: 2017-09-20 Created: 2017-09-20

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