History of Inventions and Innovations for Aluminum Production

  • Michel ReverdyEmail author
  • Vinko Potocnik
Conference paper
Part of the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series book series (MMMS)


Industrial production of aluminum started in 1856 with the chemical method developed by Sainte-Claire Deville. In 1886, Charles Hall and Paul Héroult invented the electrolytic reduction of alumina with carbon, which quickly became the only industrial method used to produce aluminum until today. Even though the Hall-Héroult process remained the same, the production technology changed tremendously since the beginning, to reduce the production cost and specific energy consumption, increase productivity, and improve environment. In this paper, the most notable inventions and innovations for improvement of the Hall-Héroult process in the last 100 years will be described as well as efforts to break away from this process, which all have been unsuccessful so far. These include direct reduction of alumina with carbon and the aluminum chloride process. Within the electrolysis process, until now unsuccessful research to use non-consumable anodes and wettable cathodes for large-scale production will also be described.


Aluminum production Aluminum electrolysis Inventions Innovations History 


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emirates Global AluminiumDubaiUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.Vinko Potocnik Consultant Inc.JonquièreCanada

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