U.S. Aluminum Shortages Solved By Recycling
Image Source: worldatlas.com
Written by: Ethan Price
March 27th, 2022
With the war currently occurring in Ukraine, many industries here in the US have been negatively affected including both energy (ie. gasoline) and tech. One industry that many may not have expected to be impacted is aluminum production.
In the past, Russia has supplied America with 6% of the countries raw aluminum. Combining this with the fact that America's aluminum consumption rose by 11% last year, bouncing back from low production numbers in 2020 due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, companies that utilize aluminum are finding it difficult to obtain a sufficient amount of it in order keep up with demand for their products (WSJ). This shortage has driven the price of aluminum up significantly.
Due to the shortage, aluminum manufactures have doubled down on the recycling of aluminum to meet demand. To combat the shortage, many major aluminum companies have began to construct scrap smelting plants, where massive amounts of scrap can be smelted using, at its height, 90% less energy than that required to smelt raw aluminum. For example, Novelis, a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries, has began production of a plant "capable of producing 240,000 metric tons of aluminum ingots from scrap". Additionally, Novelis and other companies of its sort have led the charge in obtaining more aluminum through the mass recycling of material from car manufacturers (WSJ).
As the year progresses, demand for aluminum on both the end of the producer and consumer are sure to increase. However, this shortage could ultimately result in the US becoming self-sufficient in aluminum production as well as more energetically conscious in the years to come.