Aluminium: Aluminium for Climate

Aluminium for Climate is helping the aluminium industry accelerate its trajectory to reach net-zero emissions by:

  • establishing a climate leadership group mobilised across the value chain
  • developing relevant pathways to reach sectoral net-zero emissions by 2050
  • developing practical collaborations to accelerate the applications of zero-carbon primary aluminium production technologies before 2030, increase access to fossil-free energy, and facilitate the scale-up of circular business models

The Challenge

Aluminium production currently accounts for 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions yearly, which represents 2% of total global emissions. This makes aluminium one of the most carbon-intensive materials. The intensity level, which ranges from less than 5 to around 25 kg of CO2e per kg produced, differs substantially per region and per producer and is highly dependent on the energy source used for primary production processes. However, the intensity level can be reduced by using low-carbon power supplies or scrap-based production.

Due to global population growth, a rising middle class, and its contribution to low-carbon economy applications, the demand for aluminium is expected to grow over 80% by 2050. The International Aluminium Institute (IAI) anticipates that this demand increase cannot be met solely by recycled post-consumer scrap, underlining the need of rapid decarbonisation of the sector.

Our Approach

In our 2020 report, Aluminium for Climate: Exploring pathways to decarbonize the aluminium industry, we identified three priority areas to ensure the sector’s trajectory to net zero:

  1. Decarbonising electricity consumption
  2. Decarbonising direct emissions from the processing of aluminium with two areas of focus: the production of high heat and steam and developing a non-carbon anode
  3. Increasing the recycling of aluminium scrap

Our Goals

The Aluminium for Climate initiative’s objectives are to:

  • Build a larger, more geographically diverse coalition, with members across the value chain agreeing to work on the sector’s pathways to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. Formal membership for the coalition is in development. Informally involved organizations to date account for ~13% of global aluminium market share by revenue.
  • Initiate a dialogue with critical stakeholders—in particular policymakers, finance players and a broader set of buyers—on how they can best support the low-carbon transition of aluminium producers around the world.
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of low-cost power decarbonisation over the next 10–15 years across different key regions, working with a multi-stakeholder group including energy providers. Identify the additional policy support required to accelerate power decarbonisation for aluminium production in regions currently reliant on thermal power generation.
  • Use collaborative projects, innovative financing models, and policy support to develop a better understanding of, and concrete proposals on, how to unlock the deployment of low-carbon production technologies.

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