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How Alcoa Plans to Reach Net Zero Greenhouse Gases by 2050

(Credit: Pixabay)

Alcoa Corporation has announced an ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its global operations by 2050.

This endeavor to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 for direct (scope 1) and indirect (scope 2) emissions aligns with the Company’s goal to advance sustainably and complements the Company’s existing targets, which include reducing direct and indirect GHG emissions from aluminum smelting and alumina refining operations by 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030 from 2015 baselines.

Alcoa intends to grow its low-carbon portfolio, increase the use of renewable energy at its operations, and bring breakthrough innovations to the market over time. The Company plans to further reduce the emissions profile of its alumina refining system and its smelting portfolio, which is powered by over 75% renewable energy.

Alcoa is developing new technologies to help reach its decarbonization goals, including the ELYSIS zero-carbon smelting process and mechanical vapor recompression (MVR) to reduce emissions in the alumina refining process.

How it Works

Alcoa invented the inert anode technology for aluminum smelting that serves as the basis for the ELYSIS joint venture. This technology emits pure oxygen and eliminates GHG emissions associated with the traditional process to make molten aluminum. Batches of carbon-free aluminum produced by ELYSIS have been sold for use by such companies as Apple and Audi, as the ELYSIS joint venture continues working toward an industrial scale.

MVR, a renewable energy-powered process that Alcoa is currently evaluating in Australia with support from a grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is another innovation with the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions in alumina refining.

Alcoa’s ambition to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 is part of the Company’s broader focus on sustainability practices and its intention to continue to pursue sustainability-related innovations in bauxite, alumina, and aluminum. Alcoa is working to reduce water consumption, minimize waste generation, improve biodiversity conservation, and decrease energy consumption across our operations.

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