Alcoa explores technology to reduce carbon emissions
Through an A$11.3 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Alcoa of Australia will test the application of renewable energy to potentially reduce carbon emissions from the alumina refining process by up to 70 percent.
Known as Mechanical Vapour Recompression (MVR), the technology also has the potential to significantly reduce water use in the refining process by capturing water vapour that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere.
Alcoa is currently conducting technical and commercial studies to adapt MVR technology to refining. Electricity sourced from renewable energy would power compressors to turn waste vapour into steam, which would then be used to provide refinery process heat.
If the feasibility studies are successful, Alcoa plans to install and commission by 2023, a three-megawatt MVR module at the Wagerup refinery in Western Australia to test the technology at scale.