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How Environmentally Friendly is The European Aluminium Industry?

| Editor: Janina Seit

The European aluminium industry continues to greatly improve its environmental performance by substantially reducing its carbon intensity across the entire aluminium value chain. This is the main outcome of its new Environmental Profile Report by European Aluminium.

The environmental impact of the primary aluminium production has decreased significantly while the environmental performance of the primary aluminium consumed in Europe has remained stable.
( Source: Pixabay / CC0 )

Commenting on the findings, Gerd Götz, Director General of European Aluminium, said: “The report demonstrates that the industry is delivering on its aim to realise the industry’s greenhouse gas reduction potential towards 2050 as set out in the Sustainability Roadmap Towards 2025. Aluminium production in Europe now leads the world in most aspects of low-carbon production. For instance, the carbon intensity of European primary aluminium production is approximately three times lower than in China, which is the world’s largest producer of primary aluminium.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • The carbon intensity of primary aluminium production in Europe decreased by 21% versus 2010 and by 55% versus 1990.
  • The carbon intensity of the primary aluminium production in Europe is approximately 7kg CO2/e per kg of aluminium produced compared to a global average of 18kg CO2/e per kg of aluminium and a Chinese average of 20kg CO2e/kg.
  • There is a strong decrease of the carbon intensity of semi-fabrication processes in Europe: the carbon intensity for the aluminium rolling mill process decreased by 25% since 2010 and the carbon intensity for the extrusion process decreased by 11%.
  • The carbon intensity of process scrap recycling (remelting) in Europe decreased by 9% since 2010.

The environmental impact of the primary aluminium production has decreased significantly while the environmental performance of the primary aluminium consumed in Europe has remained stable. There has also been a substantial improvement in the environmental performance of the semi-fabrication processes (rolling and extrusion) and the recycling industry in Europe.

The report covers the environmental impact of the entire aluminium value chain in Europe, from metal supply - primary and recycling - to semi-fabrication - rolling, foil and extrusion1. In addition to providing accurate and reliable data on aluminium industry’s environmental performance in Europe, it also includes Life-Cycle Inventory (LCI) datasets for the key process steps essential for calculating the environmental impact of products using aluminium. These new datasets, based on 2015 production data from European Aluminium’s members, update the 2010 versions.

You can find the executive summary of the Environmental Profile Report on European Aluminium’s website.

1The report provides seven environmental datasets covering the entire aluminium value chain production in Europe from primary aluminium production to the aluminium refining process from pre-or post-consumer scrap to casting alloy ingot ready for delivery to the user. Production manufacturing of final products and the use phase of the products are not included in this assessment, as these datasets are more specific to aluminium customers. The geographical area covered by European Aluminium’s datasets is composed of the 28 EU Member States and the EFTA countries (Norway, Switzerland and Iceland) unless otherwise stated.


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Pixabay; Reed; Europoles; Daimler; EUROPEAN ALUMINIUM Environmental Profile Report 2018 ; Sputtering Components Inc.; HP; Bedrunka+Hirth; Audi AG; ©magele-picture - stock.adobe.com; Constellium; Grob-Werke