Aluminium is a rather young metal compared to the other important metallic elements. Nevertheless it is one of the most abundant chemical elements in the earth
crust with a share of 8% and therefore only behind oxygen and silicon. The widespread occurrence in nature would suggest an earlier exploration of this metal than only the last two centuries. The industrial production and application of aluminium is exponentially increasing due to its enormous potential of energy saving in industrial applications. By 2020 production and consumption of aluminium exceeded 60 Mt. There have been drastic improvements in the process throughout the last 120 years, reducing energy consumption and increasing current efficiency while the basic process remained unchanged in principle. Charles Hall experienced energy consumptions of 55 MWh/t of aluminium in 1886. This number was reduced to 25 MWh/t until the middle of the 20th century while we achieve energy consumption of less than 13 MWh/t in the best smelters today. The world average is still above 15 MWh/t. These numbers represent the DC energy consumption in the electrolytic smelting process.
Although energy intensive in its production, aluminium is a real energy saver, due to its enormous potentials in saving energy in its application and once produced endlessly recyclable. Aluminum has been called the sustainability nutrient of the world, and for good reason. Consider that 75% of all the aluminum made since 1886 is still in use.
This page gives some insights into challenges of the international Aluminium Industry. There are technical and economical challenges and opportunities. Roughly 5 % of the world electricity generation is used to produce aluminium. Since 10 years China is dominating the aluminium production and achieving 60%. This evelopment has affected the electricity mix for aluminium production shifting it from hydro to coal dominated as China is 90% coal generation for aluminium production. The great opportunity for aluminium producers in industrial countries that are committed to Renewable Energies, lay in the flexibilization of its process and production. This enables aluminium producers to become a great supporter for the Energy Transition.
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Flexible Aluminium Smelters are the Future
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