A $21 million expansion at Alcoa Inc.'s Barberton, Ohio, campus will deliver big benefits to the environment and Alcoa's bottom line, the company said.
Alcoa expects its new casthouse, which produces forged wheels from re-melted and scrap aluminum, to cut energy used in the aluminum-recycling process by 50 percent.
The 50,000-square-foot recycling facility is the first of its kind in North America, according to Pittsburgh-based Alcoa.
"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," said Tim Myers, president of Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products.
Alcoa said it expects to cut energy consumption through a combination of process and logistical improvements. Having the casthouse on the campus of an existing production facility has helped Alcoa cut its transportation-related energy consumption by 90 percent, according to the company.
The expansion project is part of the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge, a program that helps companies identify
energy-efficient practices for their facilities.
Through the program, Alcoa "will share best practices—such as linking
energy goals to compensation—to help other companies reduce their
industrial energy intensity," said Kevin Anton, Alcoa's chief
Running at Full Capacity
The casthouse takes chips and solids from an 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 plant then ships the billets to other wheel-processing facilities to forge into aluminum wheels.
Nearly two years after Alcoa began construction of the new facility,
the casthouse is running at full capacity, according to Alcoa.