Aluminium production is highly energy-intensive, with electricity making up a large share of the energy consumed. Given the high level of electricity consumed in the aluminium subsector, power sector decarbonisation is a key complement to emissions reduction efforts in aluminium.
Global aluminium production is expected to continue expanding, driven by population and GDP growth. Clean energy transitions will also impact aluminium demand, with potential for upward pressure from technology shifts that require greater use of aluminium, e.g. for lightweight vehicles and solar energy (which uses aluminium for various components).
Adopting material efficiency measures can help curb demand growth, however. Examples include reducing scrap generation during fabrication and manufacturing, reusing old scrap, and designing products with recycling in mind.
Efforts to reduce the energy and emissions intensity of aluminium production will also be important. This includes improving scrap collection and sorting to enable increased secondary production and innovation on new process technologies like inert anodes.
Last updated Jun 16, 2020
Direct CO2 intensity of aluminium production, 2000-2018
Emissions intensity of aluminium production must decline
The direct CO2 intensity of aluminium production remained relatively flat in 2018, as it has since 2014. According to the SDS, however, emissions intensity must decline by 1.5% annually to 2030. Getting on track with the SDS will require improved end-of-life scrap collection and sorting to enable greater production from scrap, and further development of new technologies to reduce emissions from primary production. Governments can stimulate action by better co-ordinating aluminium scrap collection and sorting, funding RD&D and adopting mandatory CO2 emissions reduction policies.