Case Study:
Carbon capture the clever way to cut CO2
Alcoa scientists in Australia have developed a process that locks up carbon dioxide (CO2), providing the potential to significantly reduce our greenhouse footprint.
Known as ‘carbon capture’, the process mixes waste CO2 with bauxite residue, a by-product of the alumina refining process.
The process not only captures large amounts of the major greenhouse gas CO2, it also reduces the alkalinity of the residue and opens the way for it to be re-used in the future.
This exciting project has set a new benchmark for the global alumina industry. Our first carbon capture plant is now fully operational at the Kwinana alumina refinery in Western Australia.
The Kwinana residue carbon capture plant is currently sequestering almost 70,000 tonnes of CO2 a year that would normally be released to the atmosphere – that’s the equivalent of taking 17,500 cars off the road.
Similar plants are planned for our other refineries. For example deployment across our operations in Australia alone could save 300,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.
As the carbon capture project has such wide ranging community benefits, we are making the technology available to others under suitable agreements. This is significant as commercial considerations usually mean we don’t make our new technologies available to industry competitors.
In 2007, Alcoa’s carbon capture project team was recognized with the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand (CASANZ) Clean Air Achievement WA Award.
The award recognizes the outstanding performance of our technology development team’s efforts and the benefits the project offers in the management of climate change.

Click image to enlarge.

Dr. David Cooling surveying the bauxite residue area at the Kwinana refinery, which is now an important carbon sink – cutting 70,000 tonnes of CO2 from the air.