Fjardaál uses the best available technologies to cut emissions


Alcoa has been looking for ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from aluminum production and one of these is to utilize green power resources to energize our smelters. The smelter project in Iceland represents our commitment to that aim, as a smelter in combination with a hydropower plant emits six to nine times less of greenhouse gases than a smelter in combination with a fossil fuel power plant.


The technology used in the Alcoa Fjardaál plant is consistent with Best Available Technology (BAT) requirements for the industry as set out by the European IPPC Bureau.


We have ambitious goals in climate matters with the Alcoa 2020 Strategic Framework. We have managed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aluminum production by more than 30% since 1990, although production has increased in the period. We are a leader in aluminum recycling, which takes 95% less energy than producing aluminum from bauxite.


We are also leaders in research on improving the electrolytic process, the use of solar energy, “carbon capture technology ” for alumina refineries and several other options which could lead to considerable energy savings. Among the projects related especially to Alcoa Fjardaál is our research grant for expanding the carbon sink capacity of a forest in North Iceland.


Alcoa also participates in a Geothermal Power Research Project in Iceland. If successful, The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) could lead to a major step forward in the economics of developing high-temperature geothermal resources worldwide.


In the U.S., Alcoa joined nine highly esteemed U.S.-based companies and four leading environmental organizations to form an unprecedented alliance called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) in order to send a clear signal to the U.S. government to quickly enact strong national legislation to achieve significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. This alliance now counts 31 companies and organizations.


For this effort and several other sustainability projects, which Alcoa has supported, the company has received many awards. For instance, in January 2008, Alcoa was named as one of the most sustainable corporations in the world in the fourth annual Global 100 ranking of the top role models in sustainable business practices, announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Alcoa has been on the list every year since the ranking was started in 2005. In September 2008, Alcoa was been selected as a component of the North American Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the seventh year in a row. The inclusion in the index marks the seventh year in a row that Alcoa has been a part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.


The Alcoa Sustainability website

learn more about sustainability


Photo from Landsvirkjun

Photo from inside the 690 MW Fljótsdalsstod Hydropower plant (Landsvirkjun)


Hydropower: green energy for a better climate

The Alcoa Fjardaál smelter in Reydarfjordur is powered by Fljótsdalsstöd hydroelectric power station, owned by Landsvirkjun. More than half of the global increase in electricity consumption by the aluminium industry in the last 10 years has been met by coal fired sources.  This form of electricity production generates nine times more CO2 than the aluminium smelters it is powering.  Locating an aluminium smelter in Iceland where it can be operated with hydropower rather than in areas where electricity is generated by fossil fuels can therefore reduce CO2 emissions globally. (Source: "Energy and Aluminium in Iceland" - see below)

visit the Kárahnjúkar Project website

"Energy and Aluminium in Iceland" a presentation by Thorsteinn Hilmarsson given on the Platts Aluminium Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona in 2003. Three pages.

read the report (Word document, 55 Kb)

A total of 99.8% of the overall fluorine is removed from the emissions with this effective system.


State-of-the art dry scrubbing system

In accordance with Alcoa’s policy to prevent all discharge of pollutants into the sea from its aluminum plants, Alcoa Fjardaál uses a modern and efficient dry scrubber system and a tall stack. Gases are exhausted from each pot into the dry scrubber system. In the scrubber, alumina is used to clean fluorine compounds from the pot gas and the dust collected in filter bags. With this a total of 99.8% of the overall fluorine is removed from the emissions.


Alumina from the dry scrubber, including bound fluorine mixed with dust, is called reacted alumina and is used in the pots as raw material. This recycling of fluorine in the dry scrubber reduces the need to purchase fluorine materials necessary to operate the pots.