The aluminium industry recognises that it is an energy-intensive industry and is particularly concerned about the responsible use of energy. Inefficient use of energy depletes natural resources and may contribute to climate change.
Because producing aluminium is energy intensive, the industry constantly focuses on the efficient use of energy. There is no energy alternative to electricity, which incurs a huge part of aluminium production costs.
The industry has its own interests at stake in becoming more energy efficient. The efficiency of aluminium smelters has shown a steady improvement since the 1950s, and electricity consumption has fallen by more than a third over that same period.
The Energy Bank
Aluminium products can be endlessly recycled, using only 5% of the energy that would be expanded in primary aluminium production. Aluminium products are therefore an intrinsic and formidable source of energy, and can be regarded as an ‘energy bank’.
The recycling of used aluminium products is thus both energy-efficient and cost-efficient. In Europe, 40% of the 13.2 million tonnes of aluminium used in 2006 came from recycling (Source: European Aluminium Association). Inefficient use of energy depletes natural resources and may threaten climate change.
As an extraction industry, aluminium producers face many environmental challenges. By acknowledging them, we have committed ourselves to good environmental stewardship, with a focus on:
Minimising any impact on the environment.
Minimising climate change impact.
Researching ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Promoting the responsible and safe disposal or reuse of waste products.
Restoring land to its natural state or to sustainable agriculture use after mining (through mine rehabilitation programs) or after other industrial processes.
Embarking on a rigorous analysis program to develop as complete an understanding as possible of the life cycle of aluminium. The life cycle analysis includes both the positive contributions that aluminium makes to the environmental and economic well being of the world's population, as well as any negative social or environmental impact that might be caused by its production processes.