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Light Metals 2009 Edited by: Geoff Bearne

TMS (The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society), 2009

Global Anode Effect Performance: 2010 PFC Emissions Reduction Objective Met
Jerry Marks
International Aluminium Institute, 312 NE Brockton Dr, Lees Summit, MO 64064, USA
Keywords: PFC, anode effect, emissions, IAI, Sustainable
RioTinto Alcan AP technology is being used. Survey participants
are also asked if facility PFC measurements have been made and
to provide the IPCC Tier 3 coefficients when available from
which the most accurate calculations of PFC emissions per metric
ton of aluminum can be calculated.

Abstract
One of the first objectives set by the Directors of the International
Aluminium Institute (IAI) as part of the global industrys
Aluminium for Future Generations Sustainability Initiative was to
reduce PFC emissions per metric ton of aluminum produced by
80% from the 1990 baseline by 2010. To monitor progress
toward this objective the IAI conducts an annual global industry
survey of anode effect performance. The 2006 survey data
showed that the 2010 objective was achieved four years early.
Survey data for 2007 shows continued progress toward reducing
PFC emissions. Now that the objective has been met the Directors
are considering formulation of a new PFC emissions objective.
This paper discusses the details of the analysis of the anode effect
survey data, the progress made to date in PFC emissions
reduction, and considers what the potential might be for future
PFC emissions reductions.

Primary Production and Survey Participation


Primary aluminum production has almost doubled from 1990
when global production was 19.5 million metric tons to 2007
when production was 38.0 million metric tons. Figure 1 illustrates
the increase in production by technology category.
40

VSS

20

SWPB

15

PFPB

10

CWPB

06

07
20

20

04

03

02

05

20

20

20

01

20

99

00

20

20

98

19

19

95

90

Reduction of PFC emissions has been a priority for the global


aluminum industry since the industry became aware of the climate
change impact of the two PFC compounds, tetrafluoromethane
(CF4) and hexafluoroethane (C2F6) emitted during anode effects.
The objective of reducing PFC emissions by eighty percent per
unit of primary production by 2010 from the 1990 baseline was
the first of what are now thirteen objectives that make up the
Aluminum for Future Generations Sustainability Initiative (1).
Metrics have been established to monitor progress on all the
industry sustainability objectives. The IAI conducts an annual
survey of global primary producers on anode effect performance
from which PFC emissions are calculated according to
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Good
Practices methodology (2). This paper updates the previous report
(3) of progress through 2005 with new data from 2006 and 2007.
The new data shows that the 2010 objective was surpassed in
2006.

HSS

25

19

Introduction

30

19

Primary Production
(Millions metric tons)

35

Year

Figure 1 Primary Aluminum Production Growth by Production


Technology Type
Figure 1 illustrates that the growth over the seventeen year period
has come mainly in the Point Fed Prebake (PFPB) cell category.
Vertical Stud Sderberg production has remained about constant
from 1990 to 2007 while production from Horizontal Stud
Sderberg (HSS), Side Work Prebake (SWPB) and Center Work
Prebake Cells with bar breaker feed systems (CWPB) has
declined significantly. Survey participation by producers has
ranged between sixty to seventy percent of global production
since the survey began. Of significant note was that starting in
2007 all of Russias production is represented in the survey. With
the full participation by Russia in 2007 anode effect performance
data was reported for 24.2 million metric tons of the total global
production of 38.0 million metric tons for 63.6 percent coverage.
Of the 13.8 million metric tons for which data was not made
available, 11.7 million metric tons was from Chinas PFPB
production. IAI is working closely with the China Nonferrous
Metals Industry Association to develop the infrastructure for
reporting anode effect data. In addition China is working
collaboratively on an initiative with the Asia Pacific Partnership
on Clean Development & Climate (4), which is sponsoring PFC
measurements at Chinese smelters to develop a snapshot of
current PFC emission levels and to establish IPCC Tier 3

International Aluminium Institute Anode Effect Survey


The IAI conducted surveys of anode effect performance
periodically covering the time period from 1990 to 1999. Since
2000 the surveys have been conducted annually. All survey data
are collected by the IAI Confidential Statistics Officer and coded
before making the data available for analysis. Both IAI member
companies, currently accounting for over eighty percent of global
primary production, and non-member companies are requested to
provide data for the survey. The survey requests responders to
identify the production technology type as either Center Work
Prebake with bar feeders, Point Fed Prebake, Side Work Prebake,
Vertical Stud Sderberg; or Horizontal Stud Sderberg. Anode
effect data requested includes average anode effect frequency,
average anode effect duration, and anode effect overvoltage if

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coefficients to enable the most accurate calculation of PFC


emissions. The initiative also aims to develop Chinese capacity to
make PFC measurements at Chinese smelters.

Because of the success in reducing PFC emissions per unit


production the industry has been able to reduce total PFC
emissions released to the atmosphere, even with primary
production almost doubling over the same period of time. Trends
in total PFC emissions are shown in Figure 3.

PFC Calculation Methodology


PFC emissions are calculated from the IAI survey data by first
calculating the tetrafluoromethane (CF4) and hexafluoroethane
(C2F6) emissions per metric ton of aluminum using IPCC Good
Practices methods (5, 6). These methods were updated in 2006
along with an overall update of the IPCC methodology. Before
the 2006 revisions the IPCC methods were last updated in 2000.
PFC emissions per metric ton of aluminum were calculated using
IPCC Tier 2 equation coefficients based on industry average
results by technology if facility specific PFC measurements have
not yet been made. For those facilities that have measured PFC
emissions the calculation is made with the more accurate Tier 3
methodology. Total PFC emissions are calculated as CO2equivalent emissions by multiplying the emissions of CF4 and
C2F6 per ton by the total metric tons of production for the year and
then multiplying by the Global Warming Potential (GWP) for
each of the compounds. While GWP values have been updated in
recent years, the IPCC Second Assessment Report GWP values
are used in this calculation for consistency with current Kyoto
Protocol emissions reduction targets.

Total PFC Emissions


(Millions of Metric Tons CO2-eq)

100
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

Year

Figure 3 Trends in Total PFCs Released to the Atmosphere


From Primary Aluminum Production.
It was only in 2007 that the total PFC emissions increased slightly
over 2006 levels. While PFC emissions per metric ton of
aluminum were reduced by over eight percent from 2006 to 2007,
primary aluminum production grew by a remarkable twelve
percent over the same time.

To calculate global PFC emissions the emissions from survey


non-participants are estimated by assuming the median
performance by production type for the production for which
anode effect data was not reported. While this approach has some
uncertainty, it enables a global emissions calculation, which is
more pertinent to the industry and to industry stakeholders and
prevents biases that might result from differences between the
survey cohort and the global production mix.

Benchmarking
One of the more valuable uses of the IAI survey data is for survey
participants to benchmark their performance with other producers
that operate with similar technology. The benchmarking allows
intelligent setting of performance improvement goals. Reports
with graphs and tables showing the relative performance of
participating plants are provided to survey participants with the
results coded so that only the plant that provided data is able to
identify its specific position among all participants in the
rankings.

PFC Emissions Results and Trends in Annual Emissions


The trend in PFC emissions per metric ton of primary aluminum
is shown in Figure 2 for the period from 1990 through 2007.

5.0
4.0

Figure 4 is the 2007 benchmarking graph for PFC emissions per


metric ton of aluminum produced.

3.0
2.0

CWPB

0.9

1.0
0.0
1990

PFPB

1.0

1995

2000

2005

Cumulative Fraction of
Reporting Facilities

PFC Emissions
(T CO 2-eq/T Al)

90

2010

Year
Figure 2 Trend in Global PFC Emissions Per Metric Ton Of
Primary Aluminum Produced From 1990 Through 2007.

SWPB

0.8

VSS
HSS

0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1

With the 2006 survey result of 0.70 T CO2-eq/T Al the IAI


sustainability goal of an 80% reduction was surpassed. A further
reduction was recorded for 2007. The 2007 result of 0.64 T CO2eq/T Al is equivalent to an 87% reduction from the 1990 baseline.

0.0
0

10

12

PFC Emissions (tonnes CO2-eq/T Al)

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14

Cumulative Fraction of
Reporting Facilities

Figure 4 Benchmarking Results For IAI AE Survey Participants


For PFC Emissions Per Metric Ton Of Aluminum Produced.
Each of the points on the graph is the result of the calculation of
the combined emissions of CF4 and C2F6 as CO2 equivalent
emissions calculated with IPCC Tier 3 method if Tier 3
coefficients were available and IPCC Tier 2 method if Tier 3
coefficients were not available. The position of the point on the
horizontal axis shows the PFC emissions per metric ton of
aluminum for the facility and the position on the vertical axis
shows the facilitys performance relative to others operating with
similar technology. For example, a point at the 0.5 vertical axis is
at the median performance.
Half the survey participants
performed as well or better and half had poorer performance.

PFPB/CWPB
SWPB
VSS
HSS

CWPB
SWPB
VSS
HSS

Anode Effect Frequency (AE/Cell Day)

Figure 5 2007 Benchmark Data Comparing Anode Effect


Frequency Of IAI Survey Participants By Technology Type.
The Way Ahead
Now that the 2010 PFC emissions objective has been surpassed
the IAI Directors are discussing what new objective might be set
and over what time period it might apply. It is clear that, even
with the 86% reduction made in PFC emissions per metric ton of
aluminum made from 1990 through 2007, there is still
considerable improvement potential remaining. The data in
Figure 4 shows that there is a considerable performance gap
between the best performers in each technology group. Clearly,
better control technology can and will result in gains where
implemented. However, implementation of good management
and work practices can have just as significant impact on global
performance and these gains can be realized without additional
capital investment (7). Also, there will be considerable future
investments made in new production facilities. These new
facilities will consist of the best available cell designs operating
with the newest and most capable control systems. Given these
facts the IAI Directors are considering a new global aluminum
industry objective to further reduce specific emissions of PFCs by
at least 50% by 2020 as compared to 2006, equivalent to a
reduction of 93% compared to 1990.

Table 1 Emission Factor Differences Among Production


Technologies For One Anode Effect Minute Per Cell Day
Calculated From IPCC Tier 2 Coefficients
PFC Emission
Factor (T
CO2-eq/T Al
1.1
2.4
0.64
0.72

PFPB

The differences in PFC emissions performance among the


different technology groups are seen in Figure 4. As a group the
PFPB cells are the best performers while the SWPB cells are the
poorest performers with respect to PFC emissions per metric ton
of aluminum produced. Differences in emissions performance
result from the differences in ability to control both the anode
effect frequency and the duration of anode effects that do occur.
The most advanced PFPB cell designs and alumina feed control
systems have the capability to almost eliminate the occurrence of
anode effects. The other factor illustrated in Table 1 that affects
differences in PFC emissions among the different production
technologies is the fundamental different emission factors for the
different technologies.

Technology

1.0
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.0

Uncertainty
(+/-%)
7
18
17
45

The fundamental reasons for the differences in emission factors


have been the subject of conjecture; however, there have been no
definitive experimental results that explain the differences. Also,
it should be noted that the factors in Table 1 are averages and the
variance of the data from which the average is calculated is quite
high. This variance may indicate that differences in cell design
and operation practices have an influence the factors.

Strong efforts are also being made to improve the overall quality
and accuracy of the results of the IAI anode effect survey. The
aluminum industry already enjoys the best representation of its
global producers than any other major industrial sector. The 2007
survey included comprehensive coverage of Russian anode effect
data and data from three of the many Chinese producers. The
inclusion of the Chinese data in future surveys is badly needed to
reduce the uncertainty in projections of global PFC emissions
because of the large proportion of global primary aluminum
produced there.
The IAI supported by the Asia Pacific
Partnership are working with the China Nonferrous Metals
Industry Association to develop the needed reporting
infrastructure. In addition, the accuracy of the PFC emissions
calculations will also be improved with additional PFC
measurements at producer facilities to enable the use of IPCC Tier
3 calculation methods.

Figure 5 shows the 2007 benchmark data for anode effect


frequency. Figure 5 shows that the PFPB operators have the best
performance in preventing anode effects. Anode effect frequency
performance is comparable among the best of the Sderberg
operators and the SWPB operators; however, above the median
performance level the HSS operators show better performance
than the VSS operators, and the SWPB operators show the poorest
anode effect frequency performance of all.

The IAI is pursuing independent verification of the emissions


reductions made to date and for future emissions reductions. Both
financial-like verification methods and verification through back
calculating emissions from atmospheric measurements of the
growth rate of CF4 and C2F6 concentrations in the global

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atmospheric are being investigated. The financial type of


verification is problematic due to the inherent uncertainty
resulting from the lack of complete participation in the survey and
the lack of traceability of the numerical survey input back to the
source. Back calculation of emissions rates from atmospheric
PFC measurements appears promising; however, the aluminum
industry is not the only emitter of CF4 and C2F6 into the
atmosphere. Since the late 1990s the semiconductor industry and,
more recently, the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) industry have
become significant sources of PFC emissions. Since the global
semiconductor industry also has a voluntary PFC emissions
reduction goal a joint effort at sharing emissions inventories and
verification through the atmospheric measurements may be useful.
Verification of emissions reductions may well be increasingly
important in the future as politicians are discussing a number of
approaches to control global emissions of greenhouse gases
including sectoral approaches. Under these sectoral approaches
global industry sectors would be charged with controlling
emissions according to guidelines that are currently being
discussed as part of international negotiations.
References

1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

http://www.worldIAI,
Available
at
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Jerry Marks, Methods for Calculating PFC Emissions from
Primary Aluminum Production, Light Metals 2006, pp. 185
188.
W. Bjerke, R. Chase, R. Gibson and J. Marks, International
Aluminium Institute Anode Effect Survey Results, Light Metals
2004, pp. 367 372.
Asia
Pacific
Partnership,
Available
at
http://www.asiapacificpartnership.org/AluminiumTF.htm,
September 20, 2008.
IPCC, 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas
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Volume
3,
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Processes
and
Product
Use
Available
at
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http://www.worldavailable
at
aluminium.org/?pg=/Downloads/Publications/Full%20Publicati
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Aluminium Conference, Terrigal, Australia, November 2007.

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