Environment Protection

Dubal’s DX technologies ... increase productivity while reducing environmental impact.

Dubal’s DX technologies ... increase productivity while reducing environmental impact.

Dubal spends $1bn on green projects

December 2011

DUBAI Aluminium Company (Dubal), which ranks among the world’s largest single-site primary aluminium smelters, has made significant strides in containing its operational impact on the environment by adopting world-class waste management practices and emission control measures.

The UAE company has to date pumped in $1 billion in environment projects including the procurement of emission control equipment, which have substantially contributed to minimising harmful emissions, according to a spokesman for the Dubai-based corporation.

Some key emission control projects include air quality monitoring stations located around Dubal’s premises to measure the impact on the environment, both within the plant and in the neighbouring areas. Devices have also been installed to monitor gas emissions inside the smelter and in its vicinity. The company says a close watch has been kept on greenhouse gas emissions, with the help of the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), to ensure that these are contained within international standards.

'Last year, Dubal met or outperformed virtually all measures relating to the environment, specifically with regard to overall perfluorocarbon (PFC) emissions, which have dropped by 74 per cent compared to 1990 levels,' says the spokesman. 'Dubal’s total fluoride emissions also continued to decrease in 2010, resulting in an overall decline of 29 per cent since 2000.'

Moreover, as a member of Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE), Dubal is working closely with carbon projects originators, especially Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (DCCE), to identify suitable platforms to reduce the financial liability upon the end-user of high efficiency upgrades. As such, the DCCE will assist the DSCE in consolidating the programme activities to avail carbon credits to ensure financial additionality of such initiatives and projects. Already, Dubal is working closely with the DCCE on several clean development mechanism (CDM) projects as part of its 2015 carbon management strategy (CMS), formulated in 2009, which has as its overall objective a reduction in the carbon emissions from every aspect of Dubal’s business.

In addition, Dubal has adopted the directives issued by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation, chairman of Emirates airline group, and chairman of DSCE, to all DSCE member companies regarding measures to minimise energy consumption in Dubai with an aim of fulfilling the emirate’s 2030 energy strategy.

Dubal monitors air quality around its premises to measure the impact on the environment.

'The success of Dubal’s efforts in this area is clear, with 2,263,605 kWh having been saved in the first three months of implementing the directives (from April to June 2011),' says the spokesman.

Substantial investment is also made in developing advanced smelting technologies that are more energy efficient and yield fewer atmospheric emissions, thus minimising operational impact on the environment. Dubal’s latest developments – DX and DX+ Technologies – perform at the exceptionally high technical performance levels for industrial-scale aluminium reduction technologies, setting new benchmarks in key areas,' he adds.

At the community level, Dubal’s commitment to protecting the environment is evident through its participation in key initiatives on a regular basis. For example, Dubal is an active proponent of the international Earth Hour movement and marks World Environment Day each year, most often by planting trees. The company supports the annual World Clean-Up campaign, through the national Clean-Up UAE initiative; as well as through active participation in the aluminium cans recycling efforts of the Emirates Environmental Group.

In the area of waste management, Dubal is dedicated to minimising, re-using and/or recycling waste, and reducing the need for landfills, says the spokesman. 'This commitment was reiterated recently through the launch of a renewed waste reduction drive with the ultimate objective of zero waste to landfill in the near future,' he says. 'The focus of the initiative is on the major streams of waste at Dubal – namely spent potlining (SPL), dross, carbon dust, medical and food waste. The company aims to achieve its goal by, inter alia, operating in an efficient and financially sustainable way; optimising the eco-efficiency of structures throughout their lifecycle by increased resource utilisation; and actively promoting the re-use, recovery and recycling of all products and by-products.'

Dubal’s strategy on waste is fully aligned with the global shift – from waste disposal to waste management. 'Many countries have already developed and implemented plans to reduce their dependence on landfills and increase recycling, reflecting the international focus on sustainable development,' the spokesman comments. 'Dubal is the GCC pioneer in terms of recycling SPL, one of the most hazardous wastes generated by the aluminium industry: 4,000 tonnes of SPL was successfully processed in 2010 through cement companies in the UAE, and a contract has been signed for processing a further 3,000 tonnes.

'A culture of recycling is nurtured throughout the organisation through the placement of paper, aluminium drink can and plastic packaging recycling stations at strategic locations across Dubal’s premises, which give employees an opportunity to sort waste at source and encourages them, and their families, to participate in material recycling. This, together with the continual emphasis on the responsible use of energy and other natural resources (especially water), is empowering both UAE nationals and expatriates employed at Dubal to become responsible citizens of the world,' he says.

Established in 1979 to add value to the energy resources of the emirate, Dubal has become a substantial contributor to the national and regional economy over the past 31 years.

The corporation is not only widely acknowledged as the industrial flagship of the UAE but also acclaimed internationally as a leading player in the global aluminium industry.

Having produced a record 1,002,414 tonnes of hot metal in 2010, Dubal’s Jebel Ali complex currently ranks firmly among the world’s largest single-site primary aluminium smelters – a position reinforced by Dubal’s higher-than-ever production record of cast products (1.04 million tonnes), and sales volumes (1.01 million tonnes) in the same year. The forecasts for 2011 are equally strong, according to the company.

Moreover, as a joint venture partner with Mubadala Development Corporation in Emirates Aluminium Company (Emal) – where the 756-cell Emal Phase One has been operating since the end of last year – the total volume of metal marketed by Dubal will rise to more than 1.75 million tonnes this year. This will consolidate Dubal’s position among the world’s top-ranking producers of primary aluminium, by capacity.

Dubal has traditionally exported more than 92 per cent of its annual production volumes – its main markets (with 2010 proportional figures in brackets) being greater Asia (37 per cent), followed by Europe (26 per cent), the Middle East/North Africa (Mena) region (25 per cent) and North America (nine per cent). Consistent growth has been experienced in the Mena region, in particular, over the past few years.

Customers in at least nine Mena countries – notably Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey – collectively purchased 114,114 tonnes of finished products in 2010, up 6.2 per cent on the 107,506 sold to the same region in 2009; and 33.2 per cent higher than the 85,662 tonnes of Dubal metal shipped to Mena countries in 2008. The volume of metal sold into the region this year is expected to exceed 127,875 tonnes, inclusive of an anticipated 14,517 tonnes of Emal metal.

Within the GCC region specifically, where metal is provided to customers in Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, sales in 2010 amounted to 171,106 tonnes, or 16.8 per cent of Dubal’s total metal sales. More than 40,000 tonnes of Emal metal was also sold to customers in the UAE alone last year. The overall volume of Dubal and Emal metal sold within the GCC is expected to have risen to approximately 290,000 tonnes this year; with that in the Mena region reaching an estimated 128,000 tonnes.

'Naturally, growth in sales volumes brings an allied increase in revenues and, understandably, Dubal is consistently a substantial contributor to Dubai’s non-oil GDP,' says the spokesman. 'Preference is given to activities that endorse the broader goals of the Dubai government and to causes that will benefit most through Dubal’s involvement.'

Four main areas of activity are emphasised – economic, social, environment and workplace – supplemented by corporate sponsorship of high-profile sporting, trade and other events that position Dubai firmly on the world stage. In 2010 alone, Dubal invested more than Dh20.07 million ($5.45 million) directly in corporate social responsibility initiatives, reaching a wide spectrum of beneficiaries while bolstering Dubai as a whole. Dubal’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, and the organisation’s commitment to sustainability principles as a whole, earned it the second runner-up (large category) in the Arabia CSR Awards 2011.

Conscious investment is also made in education and talent development of UAE nationals, in particular, so as to fulfil government mandates. A comprehensive nationalisation strategy is in place at Dubal, whereby young UAE nationals are actively recruited, trained (special programmes are in place to fast-track their progress) and groomed for management positions. 'As a result of these initiatives, Dubal is widely regarded as an employer of choice: some 15 per cent of the corporation’s employee base comprises UAE nationals, rising to above 70 per cent at senior management level,' says the spokesman.

'Operationally, Dubal is continually making efforts to protect the health and safety of all Dubal employees, as well as that of the surrounding community,' the spokes-man concludes.

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