To reduce CO2 emissions in the long term and at the same time meet rising demand, the global aluminium industry must invest in production technologies and in the process chain. In its latest report, the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) identifies three approaches.
In its report "Aluminium Sector Greenhouse Gas Pathways to 2050", the IAI outlines three emission reduction pathways for the aluminium industry. The goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by about 80 % over the next three decades.
At the same time, the IAI predicts an increasing demand for aluminium products: In the coming decades, the global demand for primary aluminium will increase by up to 40 %, and the amount of recycled aluminium will even more than triple by 2050.
Over the past two years, a working group of IAI member companies and regional associations has been working to formulate ways to achieve the global climate targets. Under the title "Aluminium Sector Greenhouse Gas Pathways to 2050", the report now available presents three pathways:
1. Electricity decarbonisation
More than 60 per cent of the aluminium sector's 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions come from the generation of electricity consumed during the smelting process. Decarbonised electricity generation and the use of Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) offer the greatest opportunity to reduce emissions to near zero by 2050, according to IAI.
2. Direct emissions
Emissions from fuel combustion account for 15% of the industry's emissions. Here electrification, conversion to green hydrogen and CCUS (the capture of carbon dioxide particularly from combustion exhaust and its use in further chemical processes) offer the best results. Process emissions account for another 15% and require the use of new technologies. These emissions, as well as those from transport and raw materials, need to be reduced by 50-60% by 2050 compared to a business-as-usual (BAU) baseline.
3. Recycling and resource efficiency
Increasing collection rates to near 100% and making further progress on resource efficiency by 2050 would reduce the demand for primary aluminium by 20% compared to the BAU scenario - which in turn would reduce emissions in this sector by a further 300 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
Read the complete report "Aluminium Sector Greenhouse Gas Pathways to 2050" (PDF)
Further information: www.world-aluminium.org