The aluminium sector accounts for 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, around 2 percent of the world’s total.
Primary aluminium is made from bauxite, refined to make alumina before being smelted to make aluminium. Aluminium can be formed into various products by extruding, rolling or casting.
Around 60% of the aluminium sector’s GHG emissions are from the production of electricity consumed during the aluminium smelting process.
Construction, transport, marine and electronics are just some ways aluminium is used. Aluminium is lightweight and strong enabling its use in the aviation, aerospace, shipping and rail industries.
Aluminium is durable and can be infinitely recycled, making it a popular choice for the renewable energy sector.
By 2050, the aluminium sector must drop its Green House Gas emissions from over a billion tonnes of CO2e to around fifty million tonnes under a 1.5-degree scenario. This is less than one-twentieth of current emissions.
Within Australia, post-production and post-consumer scrap is collected for recycling. Until recently, Australian aluminium smelters have had limited capacity for safe and successful scrap aluminium remelting. Australia exports 95% of its scrap aluminium for recycling. In 2020 Australian exporters reported sending 119,075 tonnes of aluminium overseas, an increase of 25.13% on the previous year.1
Recycled aluminium requires only 5% of the energy needed to make virgin aluminium.
Recently, Australia’s largest aluminium extruder, Capral Aluminium, signed an agreement with Tomago Aluminium, Australia’s largest aluminium smelter, to supply approximately 550 tonnes of production scrap annually for remelting. This industry-leading arrangement is the first of its kind within Australia, paving the way toward access to lower-carbon aluminium for Australian manufacturers.
1 Australian Aluminium Council – Australian Recycling Market 2021
Recycling aluminium requires up to 95% less energy than production from ore, including greenhouse gases.
The carbon emissions associated with the production of primary aluminium can vary considerably depending on the energy source used to produce the primary aluminium.
According to the International Aluminium Institute, the average carbon emissions used to produce of 1kg of Aluminium during the smelter phase is 13.9kg. However, some smelters using renewable energy sources can produce aluminium with much lower carbon emissions between 4kg and 8kg of CO2e emissions per kilogram of aluminium.
Annually, primary aluminium production accounts for more than one gigaton of carbon. Lower-carbon aluminium can significantly reduce this.
Capral Aluminium is committed to making lower-carbon aluminium accessible to Australian manufacturers. In 2022, 22% of the primary aluminium Capral extrudes will have be produced with carbon emissions lower than 8kg CO2e/1kg Al, 300t will have a carbon emissions below 4kg CO2e/1kg Al.*
* Kilograms emitted per kilogram of aluminium produced – Aluminium Smelting and Casting
In 2022, Capral will procure 15 000 tonne of lower-carbon aluminium.
22% of their total billet will be LocAl aluminium.
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