Relève étoile Louis-Berlinguet 
July 2018

Philippe Ouzilleau

PhD student in Chemical Engineering
École Polytechnique de Montréal

Award-winning publication: Prediction of CO2/CO formation from the (primary) anode process in aluminium electrolysis using an electrothermodynamic model (for coke crystallites)

Published in: Electrochimica Acta


Aluminium production is based on the electrochemical principle that aluminium can be extracted from alumina in an electrolytic cell by combining the reducing power of petrochemical coke (a carbon material similar to coal) and significant electrical power. Experimentally, it is widely accepted that a more powerful electrical current lessens the need for coke and vice-versa. But there is no predictive theoretical model for the phenomenon, impeding the environmental optimization of aluminum smelting since the carbon that is consumed generates CO and CO2. Philippe Ouzilleau has therefore set out a new electrothermodynamic model to realistically predict this complex interdependence. The model could help reduce the CO2 emitted per tonne of aluminum produced through an approach that minimizes carbon consumption during electrolysis.