Alcoa Corporation launched its technology roadmap to support the company’s vision to reinvent the aluminum industry for a sustainable future. The technologies in this roadmap, which include ELYSIS™, ASTRAEA™ technology , and the Refinery of the Future, have the potential to decarbonise a significant portion of the upstream aluminum supply chain, and provide a competitive advantage in a carbon-constrained world and help to achieve its net-zero 2050 ambition.
From post-consumer scrap to commercial-grade aluminum
Aluminium is already infinitely recyclable, and Alcoa is working to recycle even more of it. Alcoa has patented technology called ASTRAEA™ that can purify low-value automotive scrap, removing impurities to make aluminium with higher purity than commercial-grade metal produced at a smelter. This saves energy, reduces emissions and makes available even more aluminium to meet the world’s increasing demand. The technology is currently working at a bench scale, and Alcoa intends to develop a pilot demonstration facility in 2023, with engineering and design work taking place in 2022.
Boldly designing the Refinery of the Future
Alcoa’s Refinery of the Future project bundles numerous technologies and process improvements to eliminate emissions while also developing beneficial applications for bauxite residue. From an emissions standpoint, the Refinery of the Future includes two primary innovations the company is working to develop –mechanical vapor recompression, and electric calcination. Alcoa is also working on ways to reduce and reuse bauxite residue.
Zero carbon smelting approaching commercial scale
Through the ELYSIS™ joint venture, zero-carbon smelting is becoming even closer to large-scale application. The joint venture is ramping up a process, first developed at the Alcoa Technical Center, that eliminates all greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process, emitting instead pure oxygen as a byproduct. The joint venture will soon begin detailed planning for its supply chain, including the production of the proprietary anode-cathode materials that are critical to the ELYSIS technology and carbon-free smelting.