Alcoa Studies Feasibility of Geothermal Aluminum Smelting In Iceland


According to the official company press release: "Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and the Government of Iceland have agreed to begin detailed feasibility studies for the development of a 250,000 metric ton per year (mtpy) aluminum smelter based principally on geothermal energy, at Bakki near Husavik in North Iceland. The agreement comes after Alcoa selected Husavik following an extensive joint public comparative study which weighed three prospective sites in North Iceland". A perfect example of green pragmatism, what with threats of drought induced hydroelectricity shortfalls, and competing demand growth for green electricity. Why not take the aluminum smelting process to a source of infinitely sustainable energy instead of the other way around?

If this project succeeds, it's easy to forsee a scenario where other electricity-intensive businesses move operations to Iceland or to the Aleutians off Alaska. Steel mini-mills would be one example. Hydrogen production (by electrolysis) is another. Good thinking Iceland.

There is more to be said. US aluminum recycling rates are falling or flat, not increasing as they should to recapture the immense amount of energy and emissions embodied in a Kilo of empty cans. If citizens and local govenrment are unable or unwilling to make aluminum recycling work, it falls on the shoulders of the aluminum producers to keep their markets sustainable. Three cheers to Alcoa.