CEO Frank Pollmann tells TAHA’s success story.
Dedicated to renewability and community support through the employment of a local workforce, TAHA is an international company with corporate offices in Bahrain that offers an innovative and environmentally-friendly dross processing solution for aluminium smelters and remelters. Located as close to the client’s furnace as possible, TAHA’s processing facilities refine the residual oxides, without using salt or any other chemicals, in order to produce feedstock for a number of value-added downstream applications, including agricultural fertilizers and aluminium trihydrate (ATH).
Taha has experienced impressive growth and clearly has plans to expand in 2016 and beyond, what will be TAHA’s next step forward and where are the new markets that you’re considering?
Based in Bahrain, TAHA is committed to strengthening its sustainability and supporting the communities it serves by employing, whenever possible, a local workforce.
TAHA currently operates within client sites in Bahrain, Oman, and New Zealand and is actively seeking new business in other regions of the Gulf, Europe, and N. America.
A key to achieving TAHA’s mission, which is to assist the aluminium industry in changing the way it deals with its dross, is through heightening awareness, coupled with expansion both regionally and globally. Regionally, we are in discussions with other smelters and downstream players in the GCC, however, globally, we see promising opportunities for our cost-effective and zero-waste solution in the United States and in Europe, where the latter prohibits salt cake landfill and thus disposing of salt cake is quite an expensive process.
Do you believe that there is a place for Italian companies in the dross recycling industry in terms of making investments or providing engineering, transport or technological solutions?
Yes, there is a place for everyone – but in particular for forward thinking investors who can see that both salt cake and landfill must be replaced by innovative, value-added products derived from “depleted dross” – which is, in reality, a mineral rich resource. Environmental issues are becoming become more and more important – reduce, recycle, reuse has got to become a way of life.
Can you tell us about the innovations in TAHA’s dross processing that make the company a new industry benchmark?
TAHA’s patented two-stage process is unique because it requires neither extra energy nor salt, yielding no toxic material by-product. TAHA’s onsite operations avoids the need to reheat the dross, and due to this rapid, low-energy process up to 90% of available metal in the dross can be recovered in the first stage and can be returned immediately to the original furnace without further alloying.
The second stage recovers virtually all of the remaining aluminium in the dross through a meticulous mechanical separation process that includes the use of a non-ferrous metal separator. This recovered metal is collected, re-melted and sold or returned to the cast house, completing the recycling process. TAHA further refines the residual oxides to produce feedstock for a number of value-added downstream applications, including agricultural fertilizers, de-oxidizing briquettes and ceramics applications, thus furthering TAHA’s zero waste solution.
How many tons of dross is TAHA currently able to process and by how much do you expect this to increase over the coming years?
TAHA’s objective over the next few years is to significantly scale its dross recycling process to help the global aluminium industry efficiently handle an onsite environmental hazard and produce value-added products. Since our business model is to operate on site at the customer’s casthouse, there is no real limit to the amount of dross we are currently able to process. We tailor our solutions to our customer’s needs, and the space available for our equipment. Currently we are processing >22K MT of dross and our aim in the next couple of years is to triple that number.
Which products are you able to extract from dross through the use of this innovative procedure?
TAHA’s main objective is to collaborate with and assist the client in dross management. Aluminium producers, unfortunately, are accustomed to dross-recycling companies who may view more dross as an opportunity to recycle more metal. This is where TAHA differs at the core. Dross is inherent to any aluminium process; however, TAHA differentiates itself by seeking to create less dross, because that is where the biggest financial loss takes place. Moreover, it does not suffice to only reduce dross generation; more importantly, our process produces a better quality of dross.
The collaboration between our experts and casthouse personnel is key to dross management. This relationship allows for an effective transfer of knowledge on how to deal with dross, emphasizing an aspect that most companies overlook, which is the timing of the skimming in order to produce less, yet better quality dross.
As well as yielding the highest metal returns, TAHA’s processes produce no waste and so send nothing to landfill.
Dross should not be viewed as a waste, but rather, as an economic source of valuable aluminium to serve as feedstock for other products.
In its New Zealand plant, TAHA manufactures a fertilizer that works extremely well there and in soil types that have increased salt levels, which under normal conditions do not allow for plant growth. In late 2015 TAHA acquired the Otago, New Zealand based fertilizer company, Healthy Soils, which will bring benefits for farm profitability and the environment.
A critical factor in why we bought Healthy Soils was that they made environmentally friendly fertilizers that beautifully complement our own ecological approach and our Clover 1 and B10 fertilizers. In addition we liked the comprehensive scientific research program that Healthy Soils initiated. Healthy Soils was unique in having four years of independent, properly run, field trials. The results showed that their fertilizers perform as promised for farmers.
TAHA Healthy Soils manufactures solid fertilizers out of a base product, which is derived from a process that eliminates the use of salts from aluminium dross treatment providing an environmentally friendly solution to the aluminum industry. TAHA is now currently finalizing plans for the construction of a new fertilizer plant at Awarua in Invercargill.
Another important product in development is Aluminium tri-hydrate (ATH); a white powder, that is typically made out of the raw material, bauxite. TAHA has collaborated with a German research institute and has developed a process that converts residual aluminium oxide, from the dross process, into ATH, a very valuable product used in flame retardant applications and is a commodity traded worldwide.
You have experience with living and working in Bahrain, what do you like best about the country?
Without a doubt the people – the Bahrainis! They are a warm, friendly, open people.
It was announced last November that you would be speaking at the AluSolutions 2016 conference this coming May, what will be the focus of your presentation?
Yes we will be presenting in AluSolutions 2016. The focus of the presentation will be on deriving value-added products from dross – developing a downstream industry further downstream from what is traditionally considered downstream.
Taha International Corporation
Almoayyed Tower 1902 – 1904
P.O. Box 20451
Manama – Kingdom of Bahrain
Phone : +973 17580680
Fax : +973 17580035
Mobile : +973 32164163
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