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environmental win

Reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and energy use, thanks to innovative new technology, have secured Alcoa a win at the 2010 WA Engineering Excellence Awards.
A new process, which took out top honours under the 'Environment' category, uses naturally occurring bacteria to consume oxalate - an impurity in the alumina refining process.

Oxalate removal is essential for high alumina quality and refinery productivity. The new process, known as 'continuous biological oxalate destruction', is an environmentally friendly solution to the oxalate challenge.

The development of the process, by Alcoa's global refining research and development division (Technology Delivery Group - TDG) based in Western Australia, was more than 10 years in the making.

Alcoa Vice President of Technology and Manufacturing Laurie Stonehouse said: “This is well deserved recognition for TDG. The biological destruction process has proven to be extremely robust technology, delivering well above design expectations.

“It's very unusual for a new technology to perform so well, so this is a real credit to TDG and all our people involved in the development work.”

The biological destruction process is currently in operation at Alcoa's Kwinana Refinery saving around 8,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere each year, compared with alternative oxalate destruction techniques.

Alcoa is expected to roll-out the process to its other WA refineries at Pinjarra and Wagerup and then potentially to its refineries around the world.

Residue Technical Manager Dr David Cooling, who was at the core of the biological destruction process development, said: “This win is a real honour considering the other six quality submissions in our category including an advanced solar thermal initiative, the new Perth to Bunbury Highway, and the Great Northern Highway projects.”

Long-term, the process has the potential to consume all of the nearly 200 metric tonnes of oxalate removed each day by Alcoa's nine refineries around the world, while reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage.

As a category winner Alcoa is now eligible to enter the Engineers Australia National Awards, with the winners announced at Parliament House in Canberra on 24 November 2010.

Since 1968 Alcoa's TDG has been developing innovative new equipment and processes for cleaner, more efficient production at Alcoa refineries worldwide, and consistently helps to solve environmental challenges through new technology. TDG employs around 80 scientists, engineers, research and support staff.  

alcoa on dow jones sustainability indexes nine years running
For the ninth consecutive year, Alcoa has been selected as a component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI), one of the most highly recognised and long-standing global sustainability indexes. Alcoa was named to both the World and the North American Indexes.

The Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) comprises the leading companies in terms of sustainability around the world. It captures the top 10% based on long-term economic, environmental and social criteria out of the biggest 2500 companies worldwide.

The DJSI follow a best-in-class approach and include sustainability leaders from industries worldwide, serving as an important guide for investors to assess a company’s sustainability portfolio.

Selection to the DJSI is based on an in-depth analysis of a company’s economic, environmental and social aspects with a focus on long-term development of corporate value.

“We never wavered from our commitment to environmental excellence and social responsibility, even though the economic climate has been challenging,” said Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld.

“Our continued inclusion in one of the world’s foremost sustainability indexes is welcome recognition for our efforts.”

To learn more about Alcoa’s approach to sustainability, read Alcoa’s 2009 Corporate Sustainability Report at www.alcoa.com, and the Alcoa of Australia Sustainability Report at www.alcoa.com.au/sustainability.

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The Technology Delivery Group team (L-R): Lance Myers, Laurie Stonehouse, Dr Amanda Tilbury, Dr Ian Harrison & Dr David Cooling

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Alcoa's Dr Ian Harrison accepting the award