"They are customer-focused. That's why we do business with GE," says Tayeb Al Awadi, Vice President, Power and Desalination, Dubai Aluminium.
To make its aluminium smelting operation more competitive, DUBAL needed to lower its power costs.
Implement a comprehensive, three-stage system upgrade and commission a robust energy management system to select the most economical power source at any given time.
Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) owns and operates one of the world's largest single-site aluminium smelters. By any measure, this is a big business with a lot of moving parts. Located in the United Arab Emirates, about 35 kilometers from Dubai, DUBAL's smelter complex can produce over one million tons of quality, hot metal aluminium each year. And, with an on-site generating capacity exceeding 2,350 MW (at 30 °C), it supplies all of its own electric power. The site can also produce up to 30 million gallons of potable water per day from its own seawater desalination plant.
Maintaining such a significant level of production and generation capacity allows DUBAL to serve its customers in more than 45 countries. And, of course, the electricity needed to power these operations is a big expense—fully one-third of the cost of aluminium production. To maintain its quality standards and to continue growing while becoming more competitive around the globe, DUBAL had to find a way to cut that power cost.
The company's leadership needed to take stock of their assets to determine the best course of action. DUBAL was using a reliable but aging fleet of 19 GE gas turbines to generate the power for the production complex—some of those units had been commissioned in 1980—but now it needed more efficient power production. The company stood to gain tremendous savings by upgrading their gas turbines to use less electricity.
At the same time, an upgrade to the existing SCADA facilities was required to enable timely acquisition of data while allowing room for further expansion of data acquisition facilities. In addition to upgrading its SCADA capacity, DUBAL wanted to add energy management applications to effectively support the economical operation of its electric power and desalination operations.