SMM Network News: recently, the International Aluminum Association (IAI) released the global aluminum industry life cycle inventory report (LCI). The report shows that although the current level of carbon emissions per ton of aluminum in the global aluminum industry has shown a downward trend since 2015, due to the continuous growth of the output of the aluminum industry, the total greenhouse gas emissions of the global aluminum industry is still large. In 2018, total emissions exceeded 1.13 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (2019 data are not released). Under the background of global warming and the framework of the Paris Agreement, the overall emission reduction task of the global aluminum industry is still arduous, and the aluminum industry is also facing new challenges of low-carbon economy, green consumption and sustainable development.
The report on the life cycle inventory of the global aluminum industry released by the International Aluminium Association is the fourth edition, and the previous three editions are the 2005 edition, the 2010 edition and the 2015 edition.
Global emissions of primary aluminum industry
Total carbon emissions from primary aluminum industry
In 2019, global primary aluminum production will be 64.33 million tons, and carbon emissions will be 1.052 billion tons, a slight decrease of 17 million tons compared with 2018. In 2005, global primary aluminum carbon emissions totaled 555 million tons, 727 million tons in 2010 and 962 million tons in 2015, an increase of 89.6 percent over the past 15 years, with an average annual growth rate of 4.7 percent. In the same period, the global primary aluminum production increased from 32 million tons to 64.33 million tons, and the increase of total carbon emissions from the primary aluminum industry was slightly lower than that of output.
Average carbon emission per ton of primary aluminum
In 2019, the average carbon emission per ton of aluminum in the global primary aluminum industry is 16.51 tons, showing a continuous downward trend. This index reached a high value of 18.54 tons in 2007, then gradually declined, rebounded in 2012-2014, and continued to decline again in the past five years, but the decline was relatively small, at an average annual rate of about 1.5%.
According to the type of emissions, in 2019, the average carbon emissions per ton of primary aluminum are 10.7 tons of electricity emissions, accounting for 64.8%, which is the influencing factor; other greenhouse gas emissions of non-CO2 account for 6.7%; direct emissions from the production process account for 9.1%; auxiliary materials account for 3.6%; thermal emissions account for 12.7%; and transport emissions account for 3%.
According to the process, in 2019, the average carbon emission per ton of primary aluminum is 0.05 tons of bauxite, accounting for 0.3 percent; 3.1 tons of alumina, accounting for 18.8 percent; 0.5 tons of anode, accounting for 3 percent; 77.6 percent of electric power; and 0.1 tons of casting, accounting for 0.6 percent.
According to the composition of emission sources, in 2019, the average carbon emissions of primary aluminum are: electric power emissions of 10.7 tons, accounting for 64.8 percent; non-CO2 emissions of 1.1tons, accounting for 6.7 percent; direct emissions (CO2) of 1.5tons, accounting for 9.1 percent; auxiliary materials emissions of 0.6tons, accounting for 3.6 percent, thermal energy emissions of 2.1tons, accounting for 12.7 percent; and transportation emissions of 0.5tons, accounting for 3.0 percent.
Looking back at the historical data of 15 years ago, the global primary aluminum industry has made a lot of efforts to reduce carbon emissions per ton of aluminum, achieving remarkable technological progress and effective improvement measures. Compared with 2005, all emissions except aluminum smelting power emissions decreased significantly in 2019, including non-CO2 emissions by 35 per cent, direct emissions by 11 per cent, auxiliary materials emissions by 43 per cent, thermal emissions by 18 per cent and transport emissions by 41 per cent. Only the average carbon emissions of electricity consumption increased by 11.8%. The main reason is that the proportion of coal, electricity and aluminum in the world is gradually increasing.
According to the statistics of the International Aluminum Association, the global comprehensive AC power consumption of electrolytic aluminum in 2019 is 14273kWh/ tons, and its index in China is the lowest, which is 13531kWh/ tons.
In 2019, coal accounts for 64% of the global primary aluminum power structure, hydropower accounts for 25%, natural gas accounts for 10%, and nuclear energy accounts for 1%. In 2006, the proportion of coal power, hydropower, natural gas and nuclear power was 49%, 41%, 7% and 3%, respectively. Compared with 2006, the proportion of coal and electricity in China is declining. In 2006, the proportion of coal and electricity was 90%, but now it is 88%. The proportion of renewable energy used in aluminum smelting in China is increasing. An important reason for the increase in the proportion of coal to electricity is the significant increase in the proportion in other Asian countries.
In the process of electrolytic aluminum smelting, the global average carbon emission of electricity consumption per ton of aluminum is 10.4 tons, the highest in other Asian countries (excluding China), 16.6 tons, the lowest 1.9 tons in Europe (including Russia), and 12.8 tons in China. Tons, 6.1 tons for Gulf countries, 2.7 tons for North America, 9.5 tons for Oceania, 3.8 tons for South America and 9.2 tons for Africa.
Global carbon emissions from aluminum products
The carbon emissions of global aluminum products include primary aluminum, external recycling of waste aluminum to produce recycled aluminum, internal waste remelting and aluminum processing and production, which is equivalent to the overall carbon emissions of the global aluminum industry.
In 2018, the global output of aluminum products is about 95 million tons, and the aluminum supply is more than 96 million tons, of which the recycled aluminum production is about 32 million tons and the original aluminum output is 64.33 million tons. From 2005 to 2018, global primary aluminum production increased from 32 million tons to 64.33 million tons, an increase of 101%. The proportion of aluminum supply was 68% and 66.8%, respectively, which decreased slightly. Recycled aluminum production increased from 15 million tons to 32 million tons, an increase of 113%. The growth rate is slightly larger than that of primary aluminum.
Total carbon emissions from global aluminum industry / aluminum products
In 2018, the total carbon emissions of the global aluminum industry / aluminum products was 1.127 billion tons (2019 data are not released). During this period, primary aluminum production accounted for 66.8% of aluminum supply, but primary aluminum carbon emissions accounted for 95% of the total emissions of the aluminum industry. In 2005, the global aluminum industry emitted 585 million tons of carbon, 766 million tons in 2010 and 1.012 billion tons in 2015, an increase of 92.6 percent in 18 years.
Average carbon emissions per ton of aluminum in the global aluminum industry
In 2018, the global average carbon emissions per ton of aluminum products (aluminum) was 11.8 tons, 4.71 tons less than the average per ton of primary aluminum carbon emissions of 16.51 tons. The main reason why the unit average carbon emission of aluminum products is lower than that of primary aluminum is that the energy consumption of recycled aluminum production is lower, and the average carbon emission per ton of recycled aluminum is only 0.6 tons, which lowers the average carbon emission of aluminum products (aluminum) as a whole.
The carbon emission per ton of aluminum products (aluminum) is 11.84 tons. According to the process, it is composed of four parts: primary aluminum production, recycled aluminum production, aluminum production and processing, and internal waste recycling, of which primary aluminum production accounts for 94.9%. Recycled aluminum production accounted for 1.7%, aluminum production accounted for 2.5%, and internal waste accounted for 0.8%. According to the composition of emission sources, electric power emissions account for 62.7%, non-CO2 emissions account for 5.9%, direct emissions (CO2) account for 8.5%, auxiliary materials account for 8.5%, heat energy accounts for 16.1%, and transportation accounts for 3.4%.
From 2005 to 2018, the global average carbon emissions per ton of aluminum products (aluminum) did not change much, from 11.69 tons to 11.84 tons, an increase of only 0.15 tons.
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