The future of the aluminium industry is intrinsically related to the issue of global warming and emission of greenhouse gases. Production of aluminium is an energy intensive process and as per the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), new stocks of aluminium accounts for 1% of total greenhouse gas emissions by humans. Therefore, a key focus of the industry is the reduction in emissions by promoting aluminium recycling and expanding use of the metal in automobiles, trains and aircrafts. Estimates provided by the IAI depict that every kilogram of a heavier material that is replaced by aluminium results in the reduction of 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the vehicle.
Globally, recycling of aluminium products is being emphasized as a facilitator of future growth of the industry. Products such as cans, aluminium foils, plates and automotive components can be easily recycled thereby saving energy and reducing greenhouse emissions; it is interesting to note that more than 63% of all aluminium cans are recycled worldwide. Recycling of aluminium uses only 5% of the energy required for primary production and emits just 5% of the greenhouse gases.
Innovative products and solutions are also central to the future demand for aluminium and growth of the industry. Fuel-cell powered cars are promising applications that can potentially become a high growth segment for the aluminium industry. This is because aluminium could be used to produce hydrogen fuel efficiently, which would help in the growth of fuel-cell powered cars and thereby arrest greenhouse emissions.