Aluminium has been one of the very few industries where the global production and consumption has constantly been increasing since past decade and in 2020-21 production has reached 65.2 million metric tonnes worldwide. Fitch forecasts that global aluminium consumption will increase from 64.2-million metric tonnes in 2021 to 78.4-million tonnes by 2029, averaging 2.6% annual growth. The use of aluminium in different existing and upcoming sectors are growing every day!
The growth has been driven by the fact that aluminium has some unique physical properties and that makes it a great choice in wide range of applications and products. For example – aluminium is fast replacing copper in long distance electrical transmission due to its good electrical conductivity and lightweight nature. The transportation and aerospace are using more and more aluminium because of its strength, workability yet lightweight properties. Similarly packaging, refrigeration, air conditioning, heat exchange systems are also adopting to aluminium due to its excellent thermal properties, corrosion resistant & highly malleable nature.
Apart from these existing industries and usages, aluminium is getting used in a lot of new and upcoming technologies and applications which will drive the consumption in the coming years. To name a few -
3D Printing: aluminium powder is often used to print fully functional parts as well as separated parts that are strong, precise and can handle details of 0.25 mm.
Sustainable Energy: multi-strand, high-quality aluminium cable with installation, cost and safety advantages that make it perfectly suitable for down-tower wind turbine applications.
Unsinkable Ships: aluminium foam is produced by adding foaming gas into the liquid metal during the re-melting of the material. By adding porosity to aluminium, it can become lower density than water, and therefore unsinkable.
New Power Sources: aluminium-based powder produces hydrogen when exposed to water, allowing power to be generated quickly and easily.
Electric Vehicles: Due to its lightweight nature, aluminium is the key metal in the EV manufacturing and in the days to come, use of aluminium in automotive industry will increase.
Another key aspect of future aluminium industry is related to the issue of global warming and emission of greenhouse gases. Production of aluminium is an energy intensive process and as per the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), new stocks of aluminium accounts for 1% of total greenhouse gas emissions by humans. Therefore, a key focus of the industry is the reduction in emissions by promoting aluminium recycling and expanding use of the metal in automobiles, trains and aircrafts.