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Process for electrolytic production of aluminum

United States Patent Application

20050092619
A1
View the Complete Application at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Argonne National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Development and Commercialization Website
A new method for the electrolytic production of aluminum, using a new electrolyte composition and low temperature operation, is provided. The electrolyte comprises a mixture of aluminum fluoride-potassium fluoride with from about 2 wt. % to 6 wt. % of alumina. The new electrolyte allows for the electrolytical reduction of alumina at temperatures as low as 700.degree. C. The lower temperature allows for the use of inert anodes, and is conducive to the use of wetted cathodes. The new electrolyte mixture has a higher solubility for alumina and remains entirely liquid, even with 5 wt. % of alumina present in the electrolyte during electrolysis. Oxygen (O.sub.2) is the only gas generated during alumina electrolysis with the new electrolyte and the inert anodes, thus eliminating the production of greenhouse gases. Anodes and cathodes can be mounted in either a vertical, horizontal, or some other configuration.
Hryn, John N. (Naperville, IL), Davis, Boyd R. (Kingston, CA), Yang, Jianhong (Bolingbrook, IL), Roy, Alain (Kingston, CA)
10/ 702,419
November 5, 2003
[0001] The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Chicago, representing Argonne National Laboratory.