Decor : New advances towards a greener aluminum industry
Last Wednesday, November 18, the II Recycled Aluminum Technical Conference organized by the Spanish Aluminum Association took place under the title “A horizon of recycled aluminum. Future challenges for the industry ». These are days that are held annually and in which an attempt is made to share the advances made in the aluminum sector in the last year.
The Technical Conference began with the conference Adaptation of the extrusion and surface treatment sectors to the widespread use of “green aluminum”, with José Manuel Mota, Technical Director of Lacquering of the AEA, as speaker.
A master class in which Mota has shared with the attendees the progress in design, research and innovation that are produced daily thanks to the efforts of the association. José Manuel Mota has pointed out that “green aluminum is essential for the field of sustainability, but not only aluminum, but all our processes. That is why we are working to make each of the phases through which aluminum passes are more sustainable and as less emissive as possible, including processes before or after the pure transformation of aluminum, such as the extraction of raw materials. or transportation. We also seek that all this is so both in obtaining new or primary aluminum and recycled or secondary aluminum ”.
Work is also being done to adapt the recycling processes to products beyond scrap from construction, and that the recycling capacity extends to all aluminum waste, regardless of the sector. “The positive thing about aluminum is that its life cycle is very high, reaching 80 years of useful life in sectors such as construction, or 20 to 50 years in others such as transportation. This makes, consequently, difficult to find scrap to recycle and meet the demands of a world that increasingly demands more aluminum. In fact, during the last year the world demand for aluminum has increased by 6.6%. Sectors such as transport, e-mobility, packaging or food are the ones that have increased the demand for aluminum the most, “which indicates that these sectors are also beginning to see aluminum as a material allied to a Circular Economy model , where ecodesign will play an indispensable role and within which aluminum can have a preferential role ”.
One of the biggest advances that the sector has developed during this year, and the results of which have been presented at this Technical Conference, has been the achievement of recycling processes for aluminum elements with the presence of intermetallic. “The recycled aluminum industry is adapting to use more sustainable energy sources than, and leaving aside fossil fuels. We are looking to collect the energy that our industry needs from hydraulic and wind sources … But not only that; We are also discovering how to use aluminum and reuse it despite being able to contain zinc, copper and other intermetallic, with which we will be able to use more and more aluminum in products whose useful life has come to an end ”.
Finally, Mota has pointed out that “the bet and the enormous effort that the AEA has made and is making is totally successful: it is directed towards an awareness of what green aluminum should be and zero-emission processes, and the technological development that this carries. Undoubtedly, the implementation of the advances developed in the sector over the last year could place aluminum companies in Spain at the head of Europe ”. José Manuel Mota has also stated that “recycled aluminum will give a lot of employment not only to aluminum companies, but also to subsidiary companies around sustainable aluminum.”
The second lecture, Answers for recycled aluminum, sustainable pretreatments, It was given by Raúl Hernández, Surface Treatment Business Development Manager of HENKEL, who has delved into the advances that are being made in terms of efficiency, sustainability and productivity from the chemical sector within the aluminum industry.