Aluminum industry faces big decarbonization challenges — report – by Staff ( – June 16, 2021)

A new report by Wood Mackenzie analyzes the challenges and opportunities that the future presents for aluminum, as the buildout of low-carbon energy supply and transmission will consume vast quantities of primary aluminum and associated alumina and bauxite.

Although such a forecast seems to be rosy, the market analyst says that the metal’s role in the green economy may be dampened by the fact that the industry will have to secure low-carbon power, which itself requires the use of low-carbon aluminium, among other metals.

“On a global basis, power accounted for close to 60% of greenhouse gas emissions relating to aluminum production in 2020,” the report reads, pointing out that the primary aluminum industry accounted for around 2.6% of global GHG emissions in 2020, of which 70% came from China.

In Wood Mackenzie’s view, decarbonizing power sources offers the greatest opportunity for emissions reduction in the aluminum industry.

Since cradle-to-gate accounted for 22% of total primary aluminium GHG emissions, with coal accounting for 68% of the energy supply for refining, WoodMac believes that if the alumina refining industry were to switch to gas this would lead to a 26% reduction in emissions.

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