October 27, 2008

Alcoa Kwinana Refinery recognised for innovation & excellence

Alcoa’s Kwinana Refinery was named ‘Minerals Processing Plant of the Year’ at the annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards last week.

The Awards recognise excellence in the Australian mining industry, while the ‘Minerals Processing Plant of the Year’ award is presented to an organisation which has improved productivity, safety, and environmental standards or has reached notable milestones using new technology, innovative processes or techniques.
 
The Kwinana Refinery was recognised largely for its carbon capture technology which locks up significant amounts of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The Kwinana plant has the capacity to lock up 70,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
 
“That’s the equivalent of taking over 17,500 cars off the road,” said TDG Residue Development Manager Dr David Cooling.
 
The Technology Delivery Group (TDG), Alcoa’s global refining research and development group, based at Kwinana set a new world benchmark for the alumina industry with the creation of carbon capture.
 
“Through our membership of the Kwinana Industries Council we continue to contribute to research into how Kwinana industries can achieve ‘waste’ synergies by using each others’ by-products - carbon capture is one of those ways,” Dr Cooling said.
 
Alcoa’s Kwinana Refinery locks up carbon dioxide from a nearby ammonia plant, demonstrating how industry can form sustainability partnerships to re-use waste products.
 
WA Residue Manager Allan Bermingham said: “We’re investigating options for deployment of  the technology across all three of our WA refineries, which could lead to carbon dioxide savings of 300,000 tonnes per year which is equivalent to taking 70,000 cars off the road.”
 
Alcoa’s WA Mining Group was also recognised at the Australian Mining Prospect Awards with a Highly Commended in the category of ‘Innovative Mining Solutions’.  Alcoa received the recognition for a bearing lifting jig which was developed by a group of employees from Mining’s fixed plant department.
 
Manager of Mines, Bill Knight, said: “This is a great example of an engineering solution being applied to solve a safety challenge and demonstrates the creativity of solving problems at the source by the people who perform the work.”
 
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Background
Alcoa in Australia invests over $25 million a year in research and development and employs over 80 scientists, engineers and support staff to work on developing processes and equipment to support cleaner production and maximum efficiency at Alcoa refineries worldwide.
 
The Technology Delivery Group is the western world’s largest refining research and development group.  It is also the largest gathering of industrial scientists and engineers in WA, and has the largest number of PhD’s working together in WA outside of a university or CSIRO.
 
The Australian Mining Prospect Awards were announced on Wednesday 22 October 2008 in Sydney.