The Sustainability Challenge for the Aluminum Industry

1st talk of the  special seminar series on "Current Topics of Advanced Aluminum Alloys"

What is the role of materials in today’s global economy as we deal with pressures from a growing population and a climate emergency? Aluminum production and usage helps provide food, shelter, health, transportation, and entertainment to the world. Achieving these goals in a “sustainable” manner dictates that our materials "will impact positively on society’s current needs and have no negative effects on future generations to enjoy the same benefits."

Life cycle analyses (LCA) of materials and products generally rate aluminum’s sustainability positively from an accounting of the energy and usage costs through the product lifetime. While plastic packaging, in particular, receives well-deserved bad press for polluting our world, it is necessary for aluminum suppliers and users as well to use our energy-intensive metal wisely.

The talk will review the current production and carbon emissions footprint for primary aluminum and the role of recycling and secondary operations in the industry. Note that the analysis will take into account the sources of energy (renewable or fossil fuel) in different parts of the world.


  • What is the current state of aluminum primary production? What adaptations are taking place?
  • What is the prospect for new aluminum production technology?
  • How do buildings, transportation and packaging markets stand in regard to production, use, re-use and recycling?
  • What are the roadblocks to maximizing re-use and recycling? possible approaches to close them?
  • Is ‘Green aluminum’ an achievable target?
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