Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Minimum Feasible Capacity of Specialty Grades of Alumina Refinery

Hi Friends,

In earlier post, we have already discussed about minimum feasible capacity of smelter grade Alumina refinery which is techno-economically viable to set up in any part of the globe. In present post, we will briefly discuss about minimum feasible capacity of specialty grades of  Alumina Plant.

It is well known fact that specialty grades of hydrate and alumina are marketed at premium price ranging from three times to five times of those of chemical grade hydrate and standard calcined alumina where as the production of specialty grades of hydrate and special alumina are approximately 15% to 20% higher than those of chemical grade hydrate and smelter grade alumina respectively. Because of increasing demand of specialty grades of hydrate and calcined alumina for various non-metallurgical applications all over the World has tremendous market potential with reasonably high profit margin. Thus, it gives us opportunity to think about the minimum feasible capacity of specialty grade alumina plant which can give high returns resulting in low pack back period. 

The preliminary study reveals that specialty grade alumina plant with 25,000 tonnes per annum production capacity is the minimum feasible capacity considering the availability of basic technological equipment for continuous operation on commercial scale. The estimated capital investment for such plant will be around US$ 25 million excluding the investment towards land and infrastructure facilities. The average manufacture cost of specialty grade alumina is estimated at around US$ 310 per tonne inclusive of all financial charges where as minimum  selling price will be ranging from US$ 600 to US$ 1000 per tonne of specialty grade alumina. Taking average level of sales realization at around US$ 800 per tonne of specialty grade alumina, the pay back period for total capital investment works out to less than 3 years. Specialty grades of hydrate have more profit margin compared to specialty grades of calcined alumina.

The preliminary financial indices prompt us to go ahead for execution immediately. However, It is always advisable to check the following basic information before taking final decision for execution-
  1. Availability of about 3.0 million tonnes of chemical grade bauxite,
  2. Required utilities and services,
  3. About 20 hectares of land for plant,
  4. About 50 cubic meters per hour of industrial grade water,
  5. Other basic input raw materials and skilled workforce.
In addition to all stated above requirements, the detailed feasibility study is a must to confirm the market scenario, fixing of product-mix, finalizing the required process technology and re-look at outcome of final financial parameters. Execution of such plants definitely require technical competence in process expert as a process technology supplier for the project, otherwise execution with superficial knowledge about the process may be detrimental for the stake holders in the project - this is just a word of caution from our expert team.

These are just the basis to initiate working on this lucrative project. Please put your views / suggestions / remarks / comments, if any.

If you like this article, then please press your rating as  +1  .
Thanks and regards.

Kunwar Rajendra

Friday, April 21, 2017

Design and Motor Rating Calculations for Bauxite Grinding Mills

Hi Friends,

In continuation to our earlier post on Efficient grinding system for Bauxite in Alumina refinery, we will discuss the methodology along with design calculations for sizing of Ball mill including the estimated motor rating with reference to a known mill operative in identical process conditions.The cross section of a typical Ball mill has been shown below just to have the physical feel of the main components of Ball mill and movement of grinding media inside in running condition. I am thankful to my friend who has developed this animation for schematic cross section of the ball mill in operation-

Schematic Cross section of Ball mill in Operation

It is evident from the above schematic diagram that size reduction of bauxite takes place due to impact action of balls and rubbing action of particles as well. The actual operating rotational speed of ball mill is controlled at around 60 to 80% of the critical speed of the mill derived on the basis of effective diameter of the mill as elaborated below. We have already discussed about the material of construction for ball mill liner and balls used as grinding media. We are presenting here the systematic approach to work out the dimensions (Diameter and Length) and motor rating of ball mill for successful operation for a typical capacity Alumina refinery as given below-
We have put all out efforts to present the calculations in simplified manner for easy understanding by one and all related to the subject. Hope, you will appreciate our attempts in preparing the concise and systematic derivations for such a complicated topic. Please put your views / remarks / suggestions / comments, if any, for further improvement.

Kunwar Rajendra

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Grand Success of Bauxite, Alumina and Aluminium Fraternity

Hi Friends,

In present post, we are presenting the grand success of our bauxite-aluminium fraternity in subsequent paragraphs.
Our efforts of exchanging our knowledge on the technical platform of Alumina Technology blog has fetched us to a new height of success. All of us who contributed directly or indirectly in achieving this grand success deserves our heartiest Congratulations! We congratulate all members of bauxite-alumina-aluminium fraternity for setting up such a new record of of success in achieving the target of 100,000 viewers of our popular technical blog on Alumina Technology i.e. www.bauxite2aluminium.blogspot.com across the globe today, the Sunday 1st August 2015.
The editorial team of Alumina Technology blog is thankful to you all of you for your continued co-operation, support, feed back and contribution in improving the quality of technical articles published on regular basis.
We celebrate every success and thus we are now aiming for the grand occasion for reaching to  a further milestone of success to cross the total viewer target of 200,000 within short duration.We have observed that our younger generation of bauxite-alumina-aluminium fraternity have started taking keen interest in analyzing the articles with due care and expressing their views and suggestion by putting their remarks in the space provided under "Comments" column located just below each technical article of the above mentioned technical blog. We have truly realized that exchanging knowledge has helped us in enriching the knowledge of all involved persons in the field of operation, design, engineering, process improvements, execution, troubleshooting and other related issues of bauxite mining, Alumina refinery and Aluminium Smelters..
Trust, we will continue to have your cooperation / supports in days to come for further improvements in quality of articles published on this blog. Your comments encourages our team to be more careful while publishing any new article on this popular technical platform. Knowledge sharing, positive attitude towards our assignment and improving skill are the key to success. Let us remember these tools of success for achieving our goals.
Rajendra Kunwar

Friday, July 17, 2015

Footsteps for Enhancing Data Bank on Bauxite, Hydrate, Alumina & Alumina Chemicals

Hi Friends,
In present post, we have put forward our aggressive steps to enhance the inventory of technical data bank pertaining to bauxite, hydrate, alumina and alumina chemicals covering all spheres of activities for all friends of our professional fraternity.
It's my natural temperament to exchange ideas particularly on technical topics. It is also the truth that blessings of my superiors and best wishes of my friends have attributed in enriching my knowledge base which further encouraged me to move forward with accelerated pace in exchanging ideas and opinions. I do not believe in diary culture in hiding information unnecessarily in my desk. I know, I have very limited data / information with me compared to many others in the World. My this approach has given me more than 2500 trust-worthy friends who are directly or indirectly associated with bauxite, hydrate, alumina and aluminium including specialty chemicals. As such, I have faced many road blocks in my career path so is impossible for me to forget the blessings of society and almighty God. Majority of my life, I have enjoyed with smile. What ever work I do, I get immense pleasure in contributing to my fullest satisfaction.  
During early days of my professional careers, I faced acute problems in learning technical things as limited people had the desire to exchange their fresh or outdated perceived ideas as they used to keep those data as very confidential just like keeping the personal property in the Bank lockers. Those days i.e in early eighties, internet in India was available to defense people only. You can imagine the extent of difficulties faced by me in learning the basics and design aspects of process, calculations, equipment, capex, opex and profitability aspects. Truly, it was hard time for me when I recall. I struggled a lot for finding even tiny technical information. You will be astonished to know that people were reluctant to tell even the basic process and operating parameters of Alumina refinery. Can you think of doing process design engineering calculations using scientific calculators and preparation of drawings using Mini Drafters on the Drawing boards. For the first time in 1984, I got opportunity to work on computer that to with 640 kb RAM. Those days, Word star and Lotus-123 were the basic software for  word processing and calculations respectively. In 1990, I got the computer with MS-Excel on which I initiated to take up the assignment for developing a mathematical model for Design of Alumina Refinery during extra hours. I was fortunate to be awarded for development of that mathematical model sometime in 1995. I kept on updating the mathematical model considering it as my person achievement. If I see the model today, I am surprised on myself for completing this unique and wonderful developmental work alone. The outcome of this model has been well tested with the results provided by other leading technology suppliers in the World. This mathematical model has been developed on MS-Excel platform and requires only 150  basic input data and it gives detailed process calculations like material balance, thermal energy balance, water balance, caustic soda balance, alumina balance etc and sizing calculations for all major technological equipment, tailor made equipment and requirement of utilities and services within no time. Utmost accuracy in outcome is the essence of this mathematical model. Since this Mathematical model has been awarded by Internationally reputed Engineering & Consultancy Organization and they are using the same even today for design of Alumina refinery. Thus, I consider it as their asset but as an originator, I keep on updating the Mathematical model incorporating advancements in process technology. 
To summarize the facts of my professional life, I had to face a lot of difficulties which can not be expressed in words. All of us know the fact of our life that we are not going to remain alive on this earth for more than 200 years under any circumstance. Thus, it would be a wiser decision to dissipate the knowledge and expertise acquired by all of us. Though our first forefathers were monkeys, but we can not behave like monkeys today in keeping intact the assimilated information with us as the World has become very small because of advancements in communication technology. I feel proud of myself as I initiated this move of exchanging the ideas of public domain nature among my friends about a decade back which was appreciated by almost all across the globe. Now, I have observed that my friends are contributing much more than what I could and what I am. I have always advised one and all to share the information of public domain nature and never disclose any data, information and drawings of proprietary and confidential nature. My interest  has remained at the same level among the global team but I am contributing little less because of paucity of time due to other pressing assignments.Till date, I have published 283 technical articles on this specialized subject and could present few papers in national and International seminars covering all aspects starting from concept to commissioning of Alumina Refinery.
No matter, I am always (24x7) available for serving the community around and specifically to bauxite, hydrate, alumina, aluminium and alumina chemical fraternity on techno-commercial issues across the globe even during odd hours.
If any individual particularly the young professionals / Entrepreneurs has any question with regard design, engineering, execution, commissioning, process calculations and costing (such as bauxite mining cost, alumina production cost, specific capital cost etc.) related to Bauxite, mining, Hydrate, Alumina and Specialty grades of hydrates and aluminas including Alumina chemicals, please feel free to ask any information / clarification clearly indicating your e.mail ID for receiving your reply. Our team of Experts will definitely put efforts for reply to you. Sometimes, you may be required to wait a while for the reply. Simplicity in our language and authenticity in information are major strength. 
We wish to have your opinion / comments / remarks on our new move on the very specialized subject like alumina. We will welcome your suggestions.
Kunwar Rajendra

Monday, June 29, 2015

A to Z on Bauxite, Hydrate, Alumina, Alumina Chemicals and Aluminium

Hi Friends,

We are planning to publish a wonderful and unique technical book on "A to Z on Bauxite, Hydrate, Alumina, Alumina Chemicals and Aluminium" covering various technical aspects with emphasis on process, design, engineering, project management, commissioning, process control and successful operation including trouble-shooting of metallurgical and non-metallurgical (Specialty grades) Alumina Plants including byproducts, chemicals and glimpse of major critical issues of aluminium smelters as well. We have already structured a table of content with variety of technical inputs for inclusion in the book. Previously, we had a plan to publish this book by early this year but could not be done due to many major changes in the content of the book on request of our friends and well wishers. Now, our team members are planning to publish this book at the earliest latest by the mid of 2016.

The proposed new book will be unique with regard to following key features:

  • Technical data, information & detailed calculations useful for process design engineers,
  • Detailed specifications of basic input materials,
  • Treatise for process control, process development & product development,
  • Production, consumption and forecast data for products across the globe for taking strategic decisions,
  • Method to optimize techno-economically viable plant with provision for expansion,
  • Basic parameters for selection of suitable project site for new plant,
  • List of required statutory clearances for setting up new Alumina plant,
  • Specifications of different grades of bauxite, hydrate, calcined alumina & chemicals,
  • Applications and production process routes for standard and specialty grades of bauxite, hydrate, calcined alumina and value added chemicals,
  • Methodology to develop PFD, P&ID, general layout of plant & shop layout / equipment arrangement drawings of units, 
  • Clear understanding about minimum feasible capacity for Alumina refinery,
  • Working out volume of work / bill of materials / Material take-off for civil, structural, electrical, co-generation and instrumentation and control units for new Alumina project,
  • Methodology for estimation of capital cost, production cost, IRR and pay back period,
  • Arriving at consumption factors for all input materials,
  • Procedure for working out requirements of fresh water, cooling water, steam and other utilities,
  • Sizing calculations for tailor made process equipment and facilities,
  • Systematic approach for sizing of pipelines and valves,
  • Techniques for selection of critical equipment & appropriate material of construction,
  • Finalization of process technology based on characterization of bauxite,
  • Basic inputs and methodology for developing Basic engineering documents,
  • Methodology with sample drawings, data sheets and documents to be developed during Detailed engineering for execution,
  • Reference guide for Entrepreneurs  and strategic planners of respective fields particularly with regard to specific capital investment, profitability and other related aspects,
  • Planning & scheduling for execution of new Alumina plant,
  • Detailed systematic planning for successful commissioning,
  • Wide coverage on safety, occupational health and environmental protection,
  • Technical input data for research and development and
  • Many more topics of interest which have not been published in any document so far.
This book will be the outcome of life time experience of a group of professionals located in different parts of the globe who have designed, executed, commissioned and successfully operated many such Alumina plants in the World.

We are thankful to all individuals and organizations who helped us directly or indirectly in making this book with rich data, information and calculations. We would also like to put on record our sincere thanks to those individuals who approached us for early publication of this unique technical book. All friends of bauxite-alumina-aluminium fraternity will appreciate the wide coverage of technical information with addition of many topics / contents compared to earlier envisaged. Editing of technical information and calculations are in advance stage and concerted efforts are being made by our team members to expedite the finalization of manuscript with utmost accuracy.

As such all out efforts will be made to cover all technical issues, however if you wish to include detailed coverage on any topic, please let us know by writing your opinion under comment column which will be passed on to the editorial board for inclusion in appropriate place in the proposed book.

We will welcome your comments, remarks and suggestions, if any.
Best regards.

Kunwar Rajendra

Scope Matrix for Execution of Alumina Refinery Projects on EPC Contract Methodology

Hi Friends,

All of us are aware that each and every Alumina refinery is tailor made because of changes in processes, equipment and facilities because of variation in quality of basic input raw materials. Thus, generally Basic engineering & Process technology supplier, Detailed engineering consultants, equipment suppliers and of course the Project owners are involved in execution of Alumina refinery projects. In the recent past, some changes in execution methodology for Alumina refinery projects have been distinctly observed. 

These days, project owners across the globe are approaching various design, engineering and construction agencies to carry out execution of Alumina refinery projects on EPC basis. This methodology has its own advantages like single point responsibility, less involvement of project owner and remote chances of schedule & cost over run for the project. But capex may be little high because of loading on prices by EPC Contractor for their efforts in execution of project such as procurement of equipment & facilities from different sources and appointment of various agencies for inspection, quality control, safety, security and other associated activities within as well as outside the premises of project site. 

In present post, we are presenting the major responsibility matrix with indicative scope of services of EPC Contractor and The Project Owner for successful execution of green-field Alumina refinery project as tabulated here under-

Activity Description
EPC Contractor
Project Owner
Feasibility Study Report

Owner to provide data pertaining to hydrological, meteorological, geological, estimated ore reserves, bauxite quality specifications with range including available infrastructure in the vicinity of proposed site.
Technological Testing Report for characterization of Bauxite

Owner to provide, hard groove index of bauxite, digestion conditions, residue settling characteristics and other associated figures derived from quality specifications with detailed test results and conclusions.
Project Clearances

Owner to provide land acquisition status, site details with topography, EIA / EMP reports, consent for establishment, safety assessment and fire rating.
Geological Survey Report

Preliminary exploration and Detailed exploration reports.
Basic Engineering

Design basis, process description, PFDs, P&IDs, equipment List, motor list, data Sheets, MSDS, utility requirement, plot plan, SLD, list of packages, details of DCS with control philosophy, design drawings for tailor made equipment and tankages, list of instruments & controls, specifications for critical equipment, pollution control equipment, 3D piping drawing upto pipe size of 50 mm and more including instruments and other details as per scope for Basic Engineering.
Detailed Engineering

Development of general layout of plant, area-wise equipment arrangement drawings, technical specifications for equipment & facilities including utilities & services, SLD for MRDS & MCCs, construction drawings for civil, architectural & structural buildings, pipe & cable racks, roads, drains, environment & safety equipment, all foundation drawings, cable routing diagrams, firefighting system, 3D piping drawings incorporating utilities & services, equipment for maintenance workshop, water supply & distribution network, erection tenders for civil, architectural, structural, electrical, instrumentation and control work and other LSTK packages plus other work as per scope for detailed engineering.
Development of General Layout of Plant.

Starting from raw material unloading, handling & storage to storage and loading of products including all processing, utility & services facilities and Land escaping.
Construction Drawings

Construction drawings for all civil buildings including boundary wall, Main gates, foundations for footings of Pipe racks, footings for PEBs and operating platforms.
Site Preparation

Marking location of plant units and offices depending on topography of land, geotechnical study reports.
Temporary Construction Facilities

Temporary office space for Client as well as Contractor officials, communication equipment, arrangement for supply of construction power and construction water, Labour sheds and stores.
Fabrication drawings

Fabrication drawings of tanks with nozzle orientation and Fabrication drawings for pipe racks.
Structural buildings

Fabrication and erection drawings for Structural buildings and ware houses.
Cogeneration Plant
Only system design drawings to be provided by Owner and detail drawings to be developed by contractor.
Design, Fabrication and erection of non-standard equipment

Installation of Piping network

Design for electrical power receiving and distribution system.

Erection of PCC & MCCs

Electrical and Control Cables

Distributed Control System

Installation of all instruments & controls

Laboratory Equipment

Effluent Treatment Plant

Sewage Treatment Plant

Construction of Office buildings

Fire Fighting System

Plantation and development of greeneries

Preparation of Operation manuals

Preparation of Maintenance Manuals

Supervision during testing & Commissioning

Stabilization of plant operation

Supply of Commissioning Spares

Establishing plant performance guarantee parameters

Submission of ‘As Built’ drawings

‘As built’ drawings for entire plant within the premises to be prepared and submitted by contractor.

The above stated scope matrix is for reference only which is also applicable for brown-field expansion of Alumina refinery and other industrial projects to be executed on EPC basis. These are just the guidelines and the same may be further elaborated on case to case basis.

Trust, our friends of Bauxite-alumina-aluminium fraternity will find this article useful more specifically while freezing & finalizing the scope of EPC contract. We will welcome your remarks and comments for further improvement by incorporating your valued suggestions, if any, at our end. Please feel free to put your remarks under "Comments" provided below each article published on this unique technical blog.

Kunwar Rajendra