Alcoa has broken ground on a new $22 million project at the used beverage can (UBC) reclamation facility at its Blount County, Tenn., smelting operations near Knoxville. Alcoa's Tennessee operation is the world's largest producer of rolled aluminum can sheet for beverage cans. Improvements include a new crusher and delacquering furnace and supporting building enclosures, utilities and environmental systems.
Alcoa projects it will recycle nearly 14 billion aluminum cans in 2007. The reclamation expansion project will increase UBC-based molten output capacity by nearly 50% when it is completed in the next 12–18 months. "This is an investment in our recycling capability," says Greg Wittbecker, Alcoa's director of corporate metal recycling strategy. "This upgrade will help increase capacity using state-of-the-art environmental and fuel efficiency technologies as well as support future flexibility to process other aluminum scrap types."