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Direct greehhouse gas emissions
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH)
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
In 1998, Alcoa Inc. established a Climate Change Strategy Team to develop its position on climate change. It set a goal to reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2010. After achieving that goal in 2003, Alcoa established a new long-term target in 2009. It would reduce 2005 levels of total carbon dioxide (CO2) intensity, for both direct and indirect emissions, by 20% by 2020 and 30% by 2030 across its Global Primary Products business. Click here to view Alcoa’s commitments to climate change.
In June 2002, Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products became the first company to sign a voluntary agreement with the Government of Québec to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All the targets set in this agreement were reached. A second greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction agreement was signed in December 2008 up until 2012. At the end of 2011, our total GHG emissions had decreased by close to 35% compared to 2001.
We are in a strong position to achieve our target for 2012. Thanks to past efforts, Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products is also well prepared for the implementation of new provincial GHG regulations, both in terms of meeting our allowance allocations and in having rigorous processes in place to record our emissions intensity. Since 2002, all annual emissions inventories have been third party audited. The modernization of the Baie-Comeau Smelter, scheduled for completion in 2015, will further improve our emissions performance.
Our technical teams share best practices so we can achieve our GHG emission reduction goals. Their efforts focus primarily on controlling anodic effects in the electrolysis sector to reduce perfluorocarbon (PFC) emissions. Performance in this area is closely monitored across the organization through a detailed monthly report that presents each plant’s results compared to established targets. Our total PFC emissions have decreased by 82% compared to the base year of 2001.
Alcoa is working on the development of inert anodes for use in aluminum smelting, which would eliminate GHG production related to the process. Considerable technical and cost challenges must still be overcome before we can achieve this innovation.
Other air emissions
We rigorously control our production of air emissions through the use of modern treatment equipment and a powerful monitoring system that assures we are in full compliance with all regulations. We also share best practices to ensure that all Alcoa facilities minimize their potential impact on the environment.
All Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products smelters are equipped with high-performance dry scrubbers to capture and treat fluoride and dust emissions in the anode manufacturing and electrolysis sectors. Our facilities are also equipped with numerous dust collectors (with leak detectors) to reduce dust emissions during the handling of raw materials and various stages of the manufacturing process.
Regular inspections are conducted to assure that this equipment is in peak working order. In the electrolysis sector, the pot hoods are checked to ensure maximum emissions are directed toward the scrubbers. The integrity of the bath cover is also inspected, as it plays a key role in minimizing emissions at the source.
Emissions are measured at the outlet of the scrubbers as well as at the roof vents outside the pot rooms. Environmental monitoring also takes place at several local sampling stations.
In 2008, Alcoa renewed its environmental performance agreement with the Government of Québec as part of its project to modernize the Baie-Comeau Smelter.