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TECHNICAL PAPERS

Solar Production of Aluminum by Direct Reduction: Preliminary Results for Two Processes

[+] Author and Article Information
Jean P. Murray

CNRS-IMP, Center du four solaire Félix Trombe, BP5, 66125, Odeillo, Francee-mail: jean.murray@imp.cnrs.fr

J. Sol. Energy Eng 123(2), 125-132 (Dec 01, 2000) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.1351809 History: Received October 01, 2000; Revised December 01, 2000
Copyright © 2001 by ASME
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References

Figures

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Process schematic for an aluminum production plant based on the direct reduction of aluminous ores to an aluminum-silicon alloy. The plant was self contained, generating its own electric power for the closed, submerged-arc process. Material flows are given in Table 1. Systems enclosed by the dashed lines are unique to the electrothermal process, and would not be needed for a solar process.
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Schematic of the experiment mounted in the McDonnell-Douglas parabolic concentrator at Paul Scherrer Institute. This concentrator, capable of reaching concentrations of 4000, supplied an average flux over the aperture of the receiver of about 300 W/cm2.
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The well-insulated cavity receiver and reactor used for these tests. A flat quartz window admits concentrated radiation and maintains an inert/reducing atmosphere around the graphite reactor. Argon was introduced radially around the window to prevent deposit of condensing product gases from the reactor.
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Schematic of graphite reactor used in these tests. The reactor inside diameter was about 4 cm, the length 5 cm. About 16 grams of compressed pellets filled two-thirds of the upper reactor volume. The lid fit tightly, and product gases were conducted out of the receiver through a chimney. Temperature was measured in the center of the reactants.
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Schematic of test system used at IMP-Odeillo. The sample was a compressed pellet of the reactants in various proportions, held on a flat graphite table. Argon flowed in at a rate sufficient to keep the pressure just above atmospheric, and products entrained in the argon were pulled past a condensor. Concentrated sunlight was incident on the top surface of the pellet, and the experiment was contained in a pyrex balloon.
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Powder X-ray diffraction spectra from the partially-reacted charge with pronounced gold crystals on exterior surfaces. The dashed lines give the spectra from the initial reactant mixture. Despite the short experiment, almost no SiO2 remains, and the products are SiC, Al4C3, Al and Si. Notably, no Al4O4C appears in the products, although a small droplet of Al-Si alloy was recovered (Figure extracted from 30).
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Powder X-ray diffraction spectra from the partially-reacted charge with no gold crystals on exterior surfaces. The dashed lines give the spectra from the initial reactant mixture. Despite the short experiment, almost no SiO2 remains, and the products are SiC, Al4C3. Notably, no Al4O4C appears in the product, although a small droplet of Al-Si alloy was recovered (Figure extracted from 30).

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