Low emissions aluminium production is a priority under the Australian Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap.
The government is backing a trial to investigate renewable energy to process bauxite into alumina, a key part of the aluminium supply chain.
Alcoa Australia will trial mechanical vapour compression (MVR) technology to electrify the production of steam and heat at its Wagerup plant in Western Australia.
The government will provide $11.3 million through ARENA to support the $28.2 million trial.
If feasible, the MVR technology could reduce the carbon footprint of an alumina refinery by up to 70%.
The Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, said the Government was committed to investing in technology to expand Australia’s energy-intensive export industries.
‘The Australian Government will continue to work with businesses and energy-intensive industries to bring down emissions in ways that increase their international competitiveness, and this project is an exciting step in that direction,’ the Minister said.
‘This technology has the potential to be a game-changer for the aluminium industry and could reduce total domestic emissions by up to 1.5% in future.’
Australia is the world’s largest exporter of alumina and accounts for around 15% of global refining capacity. The aluminium industry employs more than 22,000 Australians.