aluminium is the third most common chemical element on Earth after oxygen and silicon.Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska built his fortune by creating the largest aluminium company in the world RUSAL, which accounts for 11% of aluminium production and 13% of alumina production worldwide.
Deripaska and the RUSAL empire got their start at the Sayanogorsk aluminium smelter plant in south central Siberia, Russia, where the future billionaire was a director from 1994 to 1997.
A Russian photo blog Drugoi got an inside look at the Sayanogorsk factory and took some beautiful images of how aluminium is made.
The town of Sayanogorsk is located in south central Siberia. It is the home of one of the largest aluminium plants in the world.
Here is the Sayanogorsk aluminium smelter which served as a launch pad for Oleg Deripaska's career in the mid-1990s.
It all starts here - in the electrolysis shop. It employs the Hall–Héroult process for the production of aluminium which involves dissolving alumina in molten cryolite, and electrolysing the molten salt bath to obtain pure aluminium metal.
An aluminium smelter consists of a large number of pots, steel containers lined with carbon, in which the electrolysis takes place; smelting is run as a batch process, with the aluminium metal deposited at the bottom of the pots and periodically siphoned off.
Rows of pots line up, it seems, over the horizon. The production process is almost completely automated - alumina is filled in the pots from the top, after the end of the process cycle aluminium is released from a tap in a large bucket.
This crane can lift three-ton aluminium reduction cells. You need about two tons of alumina, a half-ton of carbon (for anode) and about 15 000 kWh of electricity to produce a ton of aluminium. Raw materials are imported from Guinea, Jamaica.
Electrolysis plant can be harmful. During the production of each ton of aluminium, 280 000 cubic meters of gas is emitted and contained through a filter system photographed here from afar.
A worker monitors the composition of the additives. He makes a sample -- a small bar, the size of a hockey puck -- and sends it to a chemical laboratory for testing.
This is the control room for bigger project, where they make cylindrical ingots of several meters in length for the cable industry.
Casters take a short break for tea. There is a also a cafeteria where the workers spend about $2.20 for a meal.
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