Research project

Developing Digital Twin Model for Real-Time Anode Baking Furnace Optimization


Canada is one of the largest producers of aluminum in the world. In fact, aluminium production is one of the main industries in Quebec. In electrolysis cells, a strong current passes between the anodes and the cathodes. Since the anodes are consumed by the electrolysis process, they must be constantly replaced in the cells. For this reason, many aluminium smelters manufacture new anodes continuously. These are baked in furnaces at temperatures up to 1100oC and for a period of a few days, which consumes energy and emits GHGs. The quality of the anodes produced has a crucial impact on the subsequent performance of the electrolytic cells. In the present project, we wish to develop a numerical twin of the furnace with the objective of optimizing the planning and control of the furnace. This approach will combine simplified mass and energy balances, knowledge and correlations from CFD, models based on historical data of the furnace and optimization strategies. Ultimately, the project will improve the performance of anode baking furnaces.

Research Field

- Primary production of aluminum
- Anode baking furnace
- Modeling
- Digital twin
- Heat transfer
- Combustion
- Energy balances
- Thermal control
- Optimization
- Data-driven models

Research Supervisor

Louis Gosselin

Research Environment

REGAL - Aluminium Research Centre, Université Laval

Université Laval is a pole of expertise on the primary production of aluminum, involving many professors, research assistants and students who are members of REGAL ( In close partnership with the industry, our dynamic team aims to better understand and to improve the various processes used in smelters through experimental work, modeling and data processing.

Web Site

Financial Aid Available by Program of Study

Doctorate in Merchanical Engineering

Program description

Financial Aid Available*

Financial Aid Related to Research Project

$27000 per year for 4 years.

Funding for this project is provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada and by Alcoa.

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Milestone Amount
Progression scholarship
7 x $500
Doctoral exam or seminar presentation
Doctoral exam, seminar or conference
First submission of dissertation
Total $8,500

*A $500 bonus will be added to the graduation scholarship if the initial submission is made before the semester preceding the final qualifying semester.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Funding source Amount
Leadership and Comittment Scholarship (Canadians & permanent residents)
Citizens of the World Scholarship (International students) $30,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships or Research Visits (in French)
$1,000 to $2,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies   
$20,000 to $70,000$
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Supplemental Tuition Fee Exemption Scholarship Program: Entitles international students to pay Canadian student tuition fees, for overall savings of around $40,000.

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Desired Profile

- Mineral, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering
- Civil and Water Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Physics Engineering

Requirements and Conditions

- To have maintained a minimum GPA of B (or equivalent) for both the undergraduate and master's degrees
- To have a strong interest in research on industrial problems, such as those presented in the project description
- To have an excellent ability to speak and write in French and/or English

Required Documentation

- Cover letter
- Curriculum vitæ
- Student transcript
Send all your documents into a single email at the following address: Indicate clearly in the subject of the email the number or the title of the project for which you want to be considered. Thanks!

Find Out More

Louis Gosselin
Département de génie mécanique