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Alcoa Saves Energy with Ohio Expansion

Nonferrous

New plant is expected to recycle 100 million pounds of aluminum each year.

Recycling Today Staff May 28, 2013

Alcoa has reported that the expansion of its wheel and transportation products casthouse in Barberton, Ohio, has resulted in a significant reduction in energy costs. The company, which invested around $21 million at the facility, says that the expansion project is expected to cut in half the energy used at the site through the recycling of aluminum to make forged wheels.

In a release, Alcoa says the recycling facility, the first of its type in North America, uses advanced technology to produce wheels from re-melted and scrap aluminum. Construction of the 50,000-square-foot facility began in July 2011 and it is now running at full capacity.

“This project is also part of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, through which we will share best practices – such as linking energy goals to compensation – to help other companies reduce their industrial energy intensity,” says Kevin Anton, Alcoa’s chief sustainability officer.

“Alcoa’s casthouse brings green technology and new manufacturing jobs to Northeast Ohio,” says Tim Myers, president, Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products. “Sustainability is integrated into Alcoa’s business strategy, and this facility allows us to take our recycling practices to a new level, recycling 100 million pounds of scrap aluminum each year in a more energy efficient way.”

The casthouse takes chips and solids from an existing Alcoa wheel machining plant on the same campus in Barberton, as well as from Alcoa’s Cleveland forging plant, and recycles them into aluminum billets. The billets are shipped to other wheel-processing facilities to forge into aluminum wheels.

According to Alcoa, the casthouse is expected to reduce energy use through a combination of process improvements and reduced transportation needs. The facility is located at an existing production facility, which has led to dramatic reductions in transportation needs.

“This new, more energy-efficient facility makes our 100 percent recyclable aluminum wheels even more environmentally friendly,” says Kevin Anton, Alcoa’s chief sustainability officer. “This project is also part of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, through which we will share best practices – such as linking energy goals to compensation – to help other companies reduce their industrial energy intensity.”

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