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Casthouse specialist partners UK university to develop energy-efficient recycling systems

Aston University has teamed up with a UK-based casthouse technology specialist through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop a suite of energy-efficient aluminium recycling systems that are expected to reduce energy consumption by up to 50 per cent.  This new partnership with Mechaterm International Ltd follows the successful completion of the company’s first collaboration with Aston University which resulted in a more intelligent design process for furnaces and ancillary equipment for the global aluminium industry using complex design automation techniques and algorithms. A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a highly qualified researcher, known as a KTP associate.  Mechatherm International Limited is a leading provider of bespoke casthouse equipment to the aluminium industry.

Due to increasing energy costs, aluminium production from ore is becoming less commercially viable, leading to many producers cutting back on primary aluminium production. However, global demand for aluminium and recycling aluminium scrap is growing. Available technologies have high operational costs associated with poor thermal management, highlighting the acute need for energy-efficient recycling solutions.  This partnership will enable Mechatherm to gain critical knowledge in thermal management processes to develop and take to market a range of cost-efficient solutions which improve energy efficiency through waste heat utilisation. 

The Aston University team will be led by Dr Ahmed Rezk and Dr Muhammed Imran, senior lecturers in mechanical and design engineering. Their research activities aim to develop innovative thermal energy systems that improve energy performance using modelling and optimisation, thermodynamics and heat and mass transfer.

Alan Burrows, managing director at Mechatherm International Ltd, said: “This partnership will allow us to access Aston University’s expertise to develop a range of energy-efficient recycling solutions which meet environmental and system performance targets and react quickly to market and regulatory changes.”

Dr Imran, senior lecturer in mechanical and design engineering at Aston University, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to leverage the knowledge Dr Rezk and I have with thermal processes and energy management. It will enable Mechatherm to deliver the next generation of aluminium recycling technology, which is important for supporting business growth in the aluminium recycling industry.”

Image source: Aston University/Mecatherm International Ltd