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What future for primary aluminium production in a decarbonizing economy?

Julien Pedneault, Guillaume Majeau-Bettez, Volker Krey, Manuele Margni

Article (2021)

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Abstract

Aluminium is an energy intensive material with an environmental footprint strongly dependent on the electricity mix consumed by the smelting process. This study models prospective environmental impacts of primary aluminium production according to different integrated assessment modeling scenarios building on Shared Socioeconomic Pathways and their climate change mitigation scenarios. Results project a global average carbon intensity ranging between 8.6 and 18.0 kg CO2 eq/kg in 2100, compared to 18.3 kg CO2 eq/kg at present, that could be further reduced under mitigation scenarios. Co-benefits with other environmental indicators are observed. Scaling aluminium production impacts to the global demand shows total emission between 1250 and 1590 Gt CO2 eq for baseline scenarios by 2050 while absolute decoupling is only achievable with stringent climate policy changing drastically the electricity mix. Achieving larger emission reductions will require circular strategies that go beyond primary material production itself and involve other stakeholders along the aluminium value chain.

Uncontrolled Keywords

Primary aluminium production; Carbon footprint; Scenario modelling; Shared socioeconomic pathways; Life cycle assessment

Subjects: 1800 Chemical engineering > 1800 Chemical engineering
2000 Materials science and technology > 2003 Metallurgy/metals/alloys
Department: Department of Chemical Engineering
Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering
Research Center: CIRAIG - International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/6647/
Journal Title: Global Environmental Change (vol. 69)
Publisher: Elsevier
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102316
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102316
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 17:44
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2022 02:21
Cite in APA 7: Pedneault, J., Majeau-Bettez, G., Krey, V., & Margni, M. (2021). What future for primary aluminium production in a decarbonizing economy? Global Environmental Change, 69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102316

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