Aluminium is deeply embedded in all parts of a modern developed economy, from cars and construction to cans. According to the report’s findings, the sector is currently responsible for approximately 2 per cent of global emissions, about 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (1 Gt CO2e). Without efforts to curtail these emissions, annual emissions for the sector could grow by as much as 90 per cent by 2050 as a result of population growth and economic development.
This report, launched by Mission Possible Partnership (MPP), finds that aluminium sector can deliver on net-zero by 2050 through four major levers: transitioning to low-carbon power; maximising secondary aluminium production; maximising resource efficiency; and deploying new technology to deliver near-zero-emissions in refineries and smelting facilities. While the decarbonisation of power is necessary by 2035, additional levers will need to be deployed to deliver half of the emission reductions in the sector. Solutions such as low-carbon heat in refineries, low-carbon anodes in smelters, recycling, and material efficiency will need to be deployed at scale over the next ten years. The report estimates that total investment required over the coming three decades is approximately USD1 trillion USD in order to decarbonise the primary aluminium sector, of which more than 70 per cent will be for supporting infrastructure, primarily for power supply.
The report is one of the series of reports MPP’s Sector Transition Strategies has commissioned for seven hard-to-abate sectors. The report demonstrates industry-backed, 1.5°C compliant pathways to net zero, lays out foundation for tangible, quantitative recommendations in order to achieve critical milestones for the respective sectors in terms of its required final energy demand, upstream feedstock resources, and capital investments for 2030. The analysis in the report has been conducted using the Aluminium Sector Transition Strategy Model and is informed by the valuable work conducted by the International Aluminium Institute for the “1.5 Degrees Scenario: A Model to Drive Emissions Reduction” and extensive engagement with the wider aluminium community and aluminium sector experts as part of the Aluminium for Climate initiative, which was initiated by the World Economic Forum in 2019.