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Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) set to complete bauxite residue pilot plant in Abu Dhabi

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) has announced the anticipated completion of its bauxite residue pilot plant in Al Taweelah, Abu Dhabi, later this year.

The plant, designed with a production capacity of up to 6 tonnes per day, aims to convert bauxite residue, a by-product of alumina refining, into manufactured soil, referred to as ‘Turba’ by EGA, derived from the Arabic word for soil.

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According to EGA’s website, the Al Taweelah alumina refinery, boasting a 2 million tonnes per year nameplate capacity, processes bauxite into alumina feedstock for aluminium smelters.

The pilot facility is set to facilitate large-scale trials to validate the enhanced plant growth observed during laboratory-scale experiments, while simultaneously reducing water and fertilizer usage. Additionally, preliminary trials suggest that Turba may possess up to ten times the CO2 absorption capacity of natural soil in the UAE.

Given the UAE’s limited natural soil resources, which necessitate significant annual imports for agricultural and greening purposes, the potential of Turba holds promising implications for sustainable land management practices.

EGA’s bauxite residue research team has also explored alternative applications for bauxite residue, including its use as a raw material in the steel, cement, and construction sectors.

With an estimated 150 million tonnes of bauxite residue generated globally each year, waste management remains a critical challenge. EGA’s zero-waste-to-landfill initiative includes repurposing other waste streams such as spent pot lining, utilized by the cement industry as an alternative feedstock and fuel, carbon dust employed in cement manufacturing, and dross processing for aluminum recovery.

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