In 2023, we are celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Spent Potlining Treatment Plant, also known as SPL. Here is how this project came to life in our facilities and harnessed the talents of our teams.
SPL: The Origins of a Unique Process
The construction of the pilot plant was officially announced in September 2006. The technology was developed by the Arvida Research and Development Centre (ARDC).
Almost two years later, on 30 April 2008, SPL employees successfully introduced the first tonnes of spent potlining into this revolutionary process, until the nameplate capacity of 80,000 tonnes per year was reached in 2014.
Since then, they have continued to develop the full potential of this technology by improving energy performance and adapting operations to facilitate by-product valorisation.
Josette Ross, Director at ARDC, says: “The story of the SPL treatment plant began with an idea conceived at the ARDC and a firm intention to reduce our environmental impact. This idea was the LCLL process, which stands for ‘low caustic leaching and liming.’ The first tests began in the analytical chemistry laboratories in the 1990s. Large-scale pilot trials followed, culminating in the official commissioning of the SPL treatment plant in 2008.”
“There is nothing more gratifying in R&D than seeing a new idea for a process come to life in a full-scale plant. But that’s not all: just ten years later, the process was redesigned again, reducing steam consumption by 40% while increasing the quality of the CaF2.
These achievements are the result of multidisciplinary teamwork and, above all, human ingenuity. In this case, the ingenuity of our ARDC researchers.
Of course, nothing can be achieved without teamwork, and an idea never turns into a reality without the help of other key players, including engineering, operations, technical expertise, partners, universities, etc. In short, the best work is achieved through diversity and teamwork. That’s what the SPL is all about,” says Josette.
SPL: For Responsible Aluminium
According to Stéphane Poirier, Director, By-Product Valorisation and Commercialisation, since its launch, “the SPL has continued to revolutionise the aluminium industry. It has processed and recovered more than 90,000 tonnes of spent potlinings, outperforming any technology developed to date.”
We’re proud to say that 15 years later, we’re looking to the future as a leader in responsible aluminium production.
Étienne Boivin, Manager at the SPL, thanked the pioneers and current employees of the plant “for the determination, creativity and innovation they show every day, their ability to adapt to the needs of new customers, and their team spirit.”
The anniversary was marked by a small event attended by the staff and all those who had contributed towards the project.
Happy anniversary, SPL!