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2007 — Environment
Reducing greenhouse gases: a winning proposition for the Bécancour aluminum smelter
Thanks to persistent teamwork, the Bécancouraluminum smelter (ABI) has made remarkable progress in reducing greenhouse gases. For several years, the plant has applied itself to the task of reducing emissions of perfluorocarbons (PFCs), which are potent greenhouse gases. To this end, people from several sectors of the plant–data processing, electrolytic pot operation and maintenance–have formed a team to make improvements.
PFCs are emitted by anodic effects that occur when insufficient alumina is supplied to the electrolytic pots in the Electrolysis sector. Anodic effects are not uncommon in aluminum production but, thanks to the Bécancour team, they are becoming extinct at the Bécancour plant.
The team, in fact, is getting ever closer to its ultimate goal of zero anodic effects. Some people think this is an impossible goal, but thanks to a number of successes–and despite several failures–the Bécancour smelter has shown great progress. Through the intervention of the regional electrolysis committee on greenhouse gases, which comprises representatives from each plant, knowledge is shared throughout Alcoa Canada Primary Metals.
Thanks to this team, it is now possible to rapidly identify and correct at source the causes of anodic effects at the Bécancour plant. The importance of these innovations was recently recognized by Alcoa: the team received the silver medal in the Environment, Health and Safety category at the 2007 North America IMPACT Awards gala.