Case Studies

These case studies illustrate how Alcoa is acting upon its commitment to sustainable development throughout the world. We are pleased with this progress, but look forward to achieving even more.

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2012 — Economic

Alcoa Innovation supports the growth of Quebec aluminum expertise

Alcoa Canada created Alcoa Innovation in 2008, in collaboration with the Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ) and the Centre québécois de recherche et développement de l’aluminium (CQRDA).
This not-for-profit organization establishes a link between wealth creation, aluminum processing and Quebec SMEs. Three projects to which Alcoa Innovation has contributed have made the headlines in recent months:
Innovative garbage truck
Inpak Vehicles of Drummondville, Quebec, has introduced an innovative aluminum-based garbage truck. The “Détritube” weighs two-and-a-half tons less than a traditional vehicle but can accommodate 30% more refuse. These features significantly reduce the environmental footprint of waste collection, including greenhouse gas emissions.
An initial prototype, currently on loan at Cascades, was built in part using Alcoa Innovation expertise. The aluminum that makes up the truck body came from Alcoa’s plant in Davenport, Iowa; the wheels are also an Alcoa design. Inpak Vehicles has high hopes for this new truck, whose modern design and durable construction make it a great choice for waste management companies. Look for them on a street near you within a few years!
En route towards an aluminum microbus
Thanks to a collaboration between Quebec’s three primary aluminum producers, Alcoa, Alouette and Rio Tinto Alcan, a one-of-a-kind aluminum microbus has been brought to market. The microbus, whose light and durable single-hull structure was developed by Alcoa Innovation, is powered by an electric motor that allows it to reach a speed of 80 km/h. Designed for urban environments, it can seat up to 30 passengers. Again, it was the Davenport plant that supplied the aluminum for the structure; the extrusions were manufactured in Quebec. The vehicle’s lightness and use of electric power give it a small environmental footprint compared to traditional buses.
Aluminium Valley and the CNTA (National Advanced Transportation Center) initiated this project in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region. Hydro-Québec, through its TM4 subsidiary, supplied the electric motor for the microbus, while Quebec-based Styl&Tech contributed to the design. The financial and other support provided by the three aluminum producers shows that the industry sees incredible potential in this project, throughout North America. If the demand is there, the partners would like to launch production of the microbus in Quebec within the next two years. In the meantime, the solidity and durability tests underway on the prototype will continue over the next few months.
Aluminum opens a door on innovation
The Sésame aluminum doors, designed by Charles Godbout and Luc Plante, took home two prizes at the Montréal International Design Show 2011 (SIDIM). Godbout and Plante were the winners of the Aluminum Innovates at Home contest, supported by Alcoa. As such, they were given the opportunity to have their creations designed and modeled by Alcoa Innovation. The Sésame doors are highly adaptable thanks to modular panels with looks to match any decor.
With these projects – and many others – Alcoa Innovation is actively highlighting aluminum and its beneficial uses, which help address numerous environmental challenges. A bonus for Alcoa!