As this report in The Times of India says, the ongoing research on the aluminum front, conducted jointly by the Jawarharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Center (JNARDDC) and the Hyderabad-based Non-Ferrous Materials Technology Development Centre (NFMTDC), will soon be testing a new aluminum/ziron alloy capable of doubling the power carried by current high-tension wires. The material will be used in a pilot-scale plant before being released for commercial use.
The name for this revolutionary replacement is “Super Thermal Aluminum” conductors, and while the technology does exist in some western countries, it is expensive and import is out of the question because of the high cost involved.
Another area where the Centre is working big time is in the disposal of “red mud,” a waste by-product generated in huge quantity in the aluminum industry. Over 77 million tons of the hazardous red mud, commonly referred to as red sludge, is generated on an annual basis worldwide, and its disposal is one of the problems that the mining industry has been grappling with for a long time. Seems like the team at JNARDDC may have finally found the solution.
They now plan to use the red mud as a source of building material. The Centre has developed two different types: hard and foam brick, and a special ceramic tile that removes all the hazardous waste properties of red mud, making it fit for re-processing.
The project came to India under an Asia Pacific technology Development Project for Clean Climate (AP-7) program in 2010-11, according to this news report, and, from the looks of it, India seems to be the only country to have developed such a technology.
There is talk of using these building materials in the “housing for all” project of the Government of India, where every family is expected to have a roof over its head by 2022.
For the JNARDDC laboratory staff, all this may be just another day’s work, but aluminum sure seems to have come a long way from being a mere beer holder. Time to clink your aluminum beer mugs and say, cheers?