Learn the definitions of future low-carbon aluminium products
Low-carbon aluminium is already a recognized term in our industry. It is used to describe primary aluminium made with renewable energy, as well as secondary aluminium produced with large amounts of end-of-life scrap. And that is just the start. In this era of sustainability, more fantastic new aluminium products are coming. Here are a few of them.
Circular aluminium is one of the terms that you may have heard but do not fully understand. It basically covers aluminium that is brought back and recycled. Actually quite straightforward. And it is on the market today.
I’d like to give you a look at a few more definitions of aluminium products that are not commercially available in large quantities. Not yet. But these products are going to come, guaranteed, to help you achieve the sustainability targets that you are driving toward.
Low-carbon aluminium, with post-consumer scrap
One of the most sustainable aluminium products on the market today, with regard to carbon emissions, is Hydro CIRCAL. Let’s look at this low-carbon product.
Hydro CIRCAL is recycled aluminium made with at least 75% post-consumer aluminium scrap. One reason its carbon emissions are so low – approximately 2.3 kgs per 1 kg of aluminium produced – is because energy use in the production phase is drastically reduced recycling aluminium.
Using recycled aluminium in the production process means that a lower amount of heat (and therefore energy) is generated. This energy usually contributes to CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
Another reason is that post-consumer scrap enters the production phase with no carbon footprint – it has already been used and carried in its previous product life. This could be metal from demolished building projects, food and drink containers or even car parts.
Aluminium with no carbon emissions in future
Now let me get back to what I promised. Here are some of the aluminium products to come:
- Near-zero aluminium. This is metal with less than 0.5 kg carbon emissions per 1 kg aluminium throughout the value chain.
- Net-zero aluminium. This is aluminium that has zero carbon emissions throughout the value chain, but which utilizes offsets as a last resort to eliminate hard-to-abate emissions like alloying elements or transport.
- Zero aluminium. This is exactly as it sounds: aluminium with zero carbon emissions throughout the value chain. Period. It has no carbon emissions from the aluminium value chain or from alloying elements, transport or other.
Granted, you will probably not be seeing large-scale amounts of “zero aluminium” for another 30 years, because it requires full decarbonization. I can see limited volumes before then, but we are not there yet with regard to large-scale production.