Aurubis uses copper composites to make electrical energy distribution more efficient and sustainable

Materials with better characteristics

VITO is helping copper producer Aurubis develop these new copper materials at its site in Olen.

Copper and copper alloys find their main use as an energy carrier in the transmission, distributionand generation of electrical energy. To respond even better to the demands of the market, Aurubis is continually on the lookout for material combinations with better properties. Nanocarbon materials such as graphene are characterised by high electrical and thermal conductivity, while at the same time exhibiting exceptional mechanical properties. Thus composites of copper and carbon have many advantages: they are more resistant to power loss due to heat, and are stronger. Aurubis called on VITO to optimise its industrial production process of copper composites.


Jo Rogiers, CEO of Aurubis Belgium: “Our goal is to create a less expensive end-product with even better properties in an energy-efficient manner, using less metal. In order to put this sustainability vision into practice, we need scientific insight. And here, VITO’s expertise comes in handy.”


Computer models to simulate solidification process

Roeland Geurts of VITO: “We developed computer models that simulate and predict how materials solidify in the existing installation of Aurubis. Using these models we looked at how you can perfectly control the solidification process. The new findings resulted in the development of a specialised cooler that allows a controlled and precise dosing of carbon to the copper bath. The first tests are already running.”


Jo Rogiers: “Thanks to VITO’s calculations we are able to directly test the mixing of copper and carbon in the production process in a quick, safe and cheap way. A major step forward.”






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