April 29, 2007

‘Carbon Capture’ system set to revolutionise greenhouse emissions in aluminium industry

A technology with the potential to deliver significant global greenhouse benefits and dramatically reduce the aluminium industry’s environmental footprint was officially unveiled in Perth today.

The ‘Carbon Capture’ system, developed by Alcoa’s global Technology Delivery Group based in Kwinana, was officially launched by WA Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, the Hon David Templeman, together with Mr Wayne Osborn, Managing Director of Alcoa of Australia.
 
The system has the potential to deliver significant global benefits by locking up CO2 in a greenhouse sink.
 
Mr Osborn explained, “The residue carbonation process involves mixing bauxite residue with CO2.  This delivers greenhouse benefits by locking up large volumes of CO2 that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere.”
 
When operating at full capacity, the Kwinana carbonation plant will treat all of the residue produced by the refinery. 
 
“This will lock up 70,000 tonnes of CO2 each year – equivalent to taking over 17,500 cars off the road,” Mr Osborn said.
 
As part of its on going commitment to reduce its global emissions, Alcoa plans to deploy the technology across its operations in Australia and worldwide.
 
“While the Kwinana plant is the first step in the application of this technology, deployment across Alcoa’s operations in Australia alone could potentially save 300,000 tonnes of CO2 each year – equivalent to removing 75,000 cars off the road,” Mr Osborn said.
 
Alcoa has taken a leadership position on climate change by reducing its global greenhouse emissions by 25 per cent compared to 1990 levels. 
 
In Australia, Alcoa is addressing greenhouse emissions through energy efficiency, productivity improvements and technological innovation.
 
“Alcoa of Australia also supports the introduction of a properly designed emissions trading scheme that includes all major emitters and sectors, and which allows Australian industry to grow and thrive,” Mr Osborn said.
 
The sharing of technology such as Carbon Capture within the aluminium industry is also vital to its long term sustainability. 
 
Mr Osborn advised, “Alcoa’s Western Australian refineries produce half the greenhouse emissions - per tonne of alumina - of a refinery in China.
 
Along with Carbon Capture, Alcoa’s Australian operations have a lot to offer not only the aluminium industry but the broader debate on reducing greenhouse emissions."