ABB successfully commissions world’s largest aluminium smelter potline

Sohar Aluminium Company potline now operating with 1650 V DC, with an annual output of 350,000 tonnes of aluminium

Baden, Switzerland, January 28, 2009 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, announced the successful completion of the commissioning of Sohar Aluminium Company’s (SAC) aluminium smelter potline in Oman. With an annual capacity of 350,000 tonnes, the SAC potline is the world’s largest.

ABB had won the multi-million dollar contract for the supply of a high power AC/DC converter station for (SAC) in January 2006. The plant has been successfully operating since since June 2008, on schedule and after three years of construction. SAC built the new aluminium production plant near Sohar, a city on the north coast of the Sultanate of Oman. This biggest ever built aluminium production potline of its kind consists of 360 melting pots and will produce 360,000 tonnes of liquid metal per annum.
SAC was established 2005. The ownership of the company is split up between Oman Oil Company (40%), Abu Dhabi Electricity & Water (40%) and Rio Tinto Alcan (20%).
ABB’s scope of supply for the project included five giant 103kA / 1650 V DC high power rectifier transformers (the most powerful ones ever built, each weighing over 300 tonnes), five AC 800PEC high speed control and protection units for the rectifiers, a level-2 SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system for the rectifier station and the 220kV gas-insulated (GIS) substation as well as the medium and low voltage distribution. In addition ABB delivered the revolutionary “ABB FOCS” (Fiber-Optic Current Sensors) technology.
After detailed studies ABB was also awarded the power quality compensation system consisting of two 220kV air insulated switchgears and two harmonic current and power factor banks operating on the 220kV level. ABB was also responsible for installation supervision and commissioning.
The Sohar smelter is the first in the world to use the “best-in-class” Alcan/Pechiney AP 36 technology, which allows a 360 kA direct current feed to the reduction cells.
ABB’s high power rectifier units help Sohar Aluminium Company to operate its plant in all conditions, even under worst case scenarios. The plant is considered to provide the most advanced, efficient and environmentally benign aluminium smelting process in the world. ABB’s ability to supply the large rectiformer units eliminated the need to build a sixth unit, and will help SAC achieve potential energy efficiency improvements of 15%.
ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs more than 120,000 people.

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