Our consulting service and training can add value to your primary metal production operation by maximising the efficiency of high current electrical connections.

Utilising ongoing analytical support, training or solution development, we can help you optimise your high amperage DC electrical connections in electrolysis and electrowinning processes.

Installing client industrial samples into CSIRO's high amperage testing facility.  ©Mark Fergus

We deliver significant cost and environmental savings to energy-intensive industries that utilise high amperage DC electrical connections, such as aluminium smelters, and copper, nickel and zinc electrowinning or electrorefining operations.

Reducing energy consumption

Energy wastage affects your plant’s stability, consumes excess power and impacts production. In electricity-intensive industries it is critical to identify points of energy inefficiency in the plant. Eventually, extreme energy wastage can result in curtailed production or even plant closure due to non-competitive electricity prices and production costs.

Our studies show that approximately 10 per cent of electrical energy is consumed in the electrical conductors and contacts in simply getting the electricity to the electrochemical process as a result of suboptimal design and maintenance.

Improving electrical connections can generate more than 30 mV savings for each electrolytic cell through low or no capital cost improvements. For a typical modern aluminium smelter producing one million tonnes of aluminium per year, the energy savings represent:

  • the energy usage of 17,000 average Australian households
  • aggregate cost savings of more than US $3 million per year.

Our service

  • specialist engineering design and review — purpose-designed solutions that provide optimal electrical efficiency and cost balance
  • process audits — detailed review of existing plant component design and process conditions to identify low or no-capital solutions
  • implementation support — advice on implementation technique, cost-benefit analysis and business case development
  • specialist technical training — technical training for all levels of the organisation for better informed decision making and to identify new opportunities for reduced energy consumption.

Modelling

To help industry partners in the design and testing process, we examine the sophisticated physics involved in the electrical supply infrastructures of large-scale facilities and assess the impact of potential improvements. Modelling and simulation are key tools for future process and design improvement to help our industry partners improve electrical energy efficiency.

We can gain a clear view of power infrastructure’s performance and make informed decisions about potential changes – we can solve fully coupled thermal-electrical-mechanical equations and achieve convergence in highly nonlinear problems, including complex contact scenarios. We can also develop sophisticated modules that clients can apply to their existing in-house systems for future testing.

Experimentation

The high amperage testing facility located in Clayton (Melbourne) conducts full-scale testing of new designs and industrial materials and customises experimental studies to suit each client’s needs.

Setting test conditions on the CSIRO High Amperage Testing Facility.  ©CSIRO, Mark Fergus

Together, our testing facility and modelling can analyse full-scale industrial components offline, causing no interruption to the client’s production. This allows us to generate highly accurate data and insight into the way electricity flows through the components and across electrical contacts.

We can also assess other parameters like the material selected, the impact of operating temperatures and pressures on electricity usage and can determine the most suitable and practical surface preparation and assembly techniques.

The facility gives industry the ability to ‘de-risk’ research and development and technical improvements by testing full- sized components and materials offline and most importantly, under normal operating temperatures, atmosphere and current densities.

We are engaging with and delivering value to clients from aluminium, copper, nickel and zinc producers.

For more information

Use this service

Contact David Molenaar for more information about our services for maximising the efficiency of high current electrical connections used in primary metal production industries.

Mr David Molenaar (Principal Research Consultant - Mineral Resources)

Phone:

  • +61 3 9545 8893

Clayton central precinct
Research Way ,
Clayton Vic 3168
Australia

Contact us

 
Your contact details

First name must be filled in

We'll need to know what you want to contact us about so we can give you an answer.