With global warming being an issue, manufacturers need greater awareness in their production chain and sustainability in its aluminium production is something that PMI takes seriously.
Climate change is a global problem that the world is facing at the moment. In order to target the global warming threat, the United Nations has stated a framework convention on Climate Change under Paris Agreement since September 2020 with China planning to draw up an action plan to control peak carbon emissions by the year 2030, which will then be followed by going carbon neutral before the year 2060.
Industrial aluminium is a fundamental alloy that is used in developing and raising living and economic standards. The carbon emission take count in the aluminium production process starts from ore, smelting, fabrication until the final product and eventually to when it is recycled. The research into the reduction in emissions in the aluminium industry has resulted in significant action to achieve carbon peak emissions and carbon neutrality in China and other countries.
Recycling aluminium is a critical condition for carbon neutral
Compared to other metals, aluminium’s special characteristics makes it the ideal, highly efficient limitless recyclable “green alloy”. This is because it has relatively high yield returns and good economy in recycle recovery and feasibility. In an aluminium product’s manufacturing chain, the ore is refined as aluminium oxide, and then smelted into aluminium ingots. There is huge energy consumption and large amount of greenhouse gas released within the upstream energy chain. The fabrication chain uses relatively less energy when it comes to a product’s shape transformation and property formation as compared to the downstream energy chain.
Recycled aluminium is the product form of one cycle of the up and downstream energy chain, then limitless recycling at downstream portion – this avoids the repeat occurrence of upstream high energy consumption during further recycling.
This shows that a carbon neutral task is not limited to an over singular part of one product manufacturing chain, worked through the entire supply chain. According to a research, it is stated that in contrast with the primary ingot output which produces one tonne of recycle aluminium – that would save approximately 3.4 tce, 14 cubic metres of water, 20 tonnes less solid scrap. For one tce which is equivalent to three tonnes of CO2, one ton of recycled aluminium could save approximately 10.2 tonnes of CO2 produced – this is a huge improvement on energy efficiency.
As aluminium possesses good plasticity and balanced unit strength, the aluminium product manufacturing process can be shorter, theoretically, in contrast to other metals. The product and production design has many available options, which can reduce the carbon footprint in its fabrication process dramatically.
Aluminium which has a relatively lower melting point makes the fuel consumption with heat treatment process such as melting, heat-treat strengthening process a lot less. So, it can have a lot more flexibility in terms of clean-energy options possible, having an advantage on carbon emissions.
China’s recycled aluminium output over total aluminium output found lower than Global average, which is a contrast to other developed country & obvious the recycle aluminium potential in carbon neutral activity.
Carbon-neutral target and PMI in action
PMI works endlessly in an effort to promote a “Clean Production” model since its establishment and has been deploying multiple eco-friendly projects in its production garden, such as solar-power auxiliary source, clean energy, eco-friendly production etc. since year 1993. PMI’s subsidiary in Malaysia, PMA, has launched “Recycle Aluminium Production”, where it contributes 90 per cent of its product manufacturing and is recognised by its customers on its stable quality.
For its long-term operation development plan, PMI is mutually recognised as a partner with multiple global customers in the “Global Strategy on Sustainability Development”, in which recycled aluminium application is one of the main goals.
PMI Light Metal R&D Institute has a R&D experiment running on recycled aluminium application optimisation while fulfilling customer quality requirements, which has been verified and started to small batch delivery (SBD). After the technical development, with PMI business structure and technical transfer, the application will be planned for further expansion under the theme of “Sustainability Development”.
Instead of in-house activity, PMI has actively been promoting leading projects such as Green Supply Chain via third party organisations in the industry. When it comes to promoting carbon neutral targets and planning the implementation of supply chain R&D, PMI leads the way in sharing these values about standardisation in these areas.
To have a balance with product quality and the concept of sustainability, the team at PMI will keep pushing forward with customers and suppliers alike.