About the Green Aluminum Blog
My job in providing a blog about Green Aluminum is to search the internet for the questions you are asking which pertain to any aspect within the broad topic of green aluminum. I then try to understand your question and provide you with an informed answer to meet your needs.
Green aluminum, also called low-carbon aluminum, has a vital role to play in the climate change battle. In the years to come, the aluminum industry must reduce its impact on the climate, by reducing the volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) that it emits in the process of producing pure raw aluminum.
This blog will keep you fully informed on the progress, as well as providing you with all the knowledge you need to understand what green aluminum is all about.
“Green Aluminum” is a generic term to describe aluminum that has been produced in a way that reduces the amount of CO2 emissions in the production process. Aluminum requires enormous amounts of electricity in the production process, and around the world most of that electricity comes from coal-fired power stations. Burning coal to produce electricity is an essentially dirty process, as the carbon in the coal is converted to CO2.
The typical aluminum smelter using coal-fired electricity will produce a total of about 12 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per ton of aluminum produced. Switching to renewable energy sources can reduce that to as low as 3.5 to 4 tons of CO2 per ton of metal.
That level of emissions is still not good enough. In order to meet 2050 climate targets, the global aluminum industry has to get itself down to zero or as close to zero as possible; the number often quoted is for no more than 0.5 tons of CO2 per ton of aluminum produced.
The world needs more aluminum in the future, as part of the journey to a cleaner climate. New Energy Vehicles are a classic example (NEV). We need to switch to cars and trucks and buses that run on electricity or hydrogen, because burning gasoline only promotes the use of crude oil and oil products. Vehicle emissions are a major source of climate pollution. Vehicles like these need to be a lighter weight, and aluminum can replace steel for this purpose. It’s true for many other products around the world, from packaging materials – reducing the amount of plastic we generate – to consumer durables such as air conditioners and fridges.
But we risk making the climate worse, not better, if all that extra aluminum causes more CO2 emissions. The global aluminum industry is in a conundrum – it has to make more aluminum to meet increasing demand from new products, but must do so in a way that doesn’t add to today’s climate problems.
Technology must and is helping. The global aluminum industry is experimenting with new technologies that will change how aluminum is produced. The industry has been working on some of these technologies for over 20 years, but we may finally be near some breakthroughs.
Another solution is if we don’t need to make so much aluminum. If the world were to capture all the aluminum that is presently being thrown away or put into landfill, then the aluminum that is recovered can go back into the production cycle. Aluminum that has been recycled doesn’t need the same amount of electricity as raw or primary aluminum does, so if we can use this metal, we don’t need to make as much primary aluminum. There are limitations but huge advantages.