Advanced manufacturing of high-purity alumina for batteries, sapphire glass and LEDs

High-purity alumina (HPA) is a material which has found use in many high-tech applications such as LEDs, battery separators, integrated circuit substrates and scratch-resistant glass. HPA is produced from the extraction and hydrometallurgy of clay. This project aims to build an integrated data acquisition system for a HPA mini-plant located at QUT’s Redlands research site. The acquisition system, informed by machine learning, will assist plant operators to improve the yield, minimise costs and improve the quality of the produced HPA.


The Lava Blue mini-plant has been built at QUT’s Redlands site will produce 20kg per week of 99.99 per cent HPA. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned by mid-2022.


High purity alumina synthesised from iron rich clay through a novel and selective hybrid ammonium alum process. Rachel A. Pepper, Gana Perenlei, Wayde N. Martens, Sara J. Couperthwaite. Hydrometallurgy, Volume 204, 2021, 105728.