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2010 Case Study: Alternative fuel trials – Anglesea
 
In line with Alcoa’s global strategic sustainability targets around conserving resources, sustaining operations and reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions, Alcoa Anglesea undertook an alternative fuel trial in 2010.
 
In June 2010 a four-month trial was initiated of the soy-based biodiesel product, Soybiodiesel®, within the Anglesea mining operations. The product was used to operate the earthmoving fleet in a bid to further reduce greenhouse emissions.
 
Biodiesel is a renewable alternative to petroleum-based diesel fuel. It can be manufactured from virgin vegetable oils such as soy and canola, tropical seeds such as palm and coconut oil, or used cooking oils and animal fats. High quality biodiesel can be directly substituted for petroleum diesel. It is simple to use, non-toxic and essentially free of sulphur and aromatics.
 
During the trial there were no reports of significant problems with the biodiesel and an evaluation was conducted to determine the viability of permanently switching the Alcoa Anglesea mine’s equipment to Soybiodiesel®. This evaluation considered the environmental benefits, impacts of using the product in the mining fleet and long-term supply of fuel. After the decision was made to go ahead with Soybiodiesel®, a supply contract was signed and the entire mining fleet continues to use Soybiodiesel®, saving 413 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2010.
 
A separate trial of a carbon-based fuel, HiCAL40 was also investigated in 2010. HiCAL40 is a fuel manufactured from Spent Pot Lining (SPL), a previously landfilled waste. Millions of dollars have been invested in research to help transform the waste into a valuable product via a thermal treatment process pioneered at Alcoa’s Point Henry operations. The alternative fuel is successfully used in other industries and provides a range of technical and environmental benefits. The success of these projects originally led Alcoa to believe there was scope for a trial at Anglesea.

Since one of Alcoa’s global strategic sustainability targets is to recycle or reuse 75% of remaining waste streams by 2020 (and 100% of waste streams by 2030), we believed HiCAL40 could be part of our waste reduction approach. Our proposed trial was approved by the Victorian EPA and preliminary works and further studies followed. However at that stage of the project a critical data error was discovered and further investigation indicated that the proposed amount of HiCAL40 to be consumed would in fact need to be significantly reduced. The trial was therefore deemed not viable. Community and stakeholder input was also considered when making the decision to cancel the trial.