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Driving the green revolution: Aluminium’s crucial role, challenges and recycling opportunities

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In the pursuit of a greener future, aluminium stands as a pivotal player, revolutionizing industries by enhancing product efficiency through weight reduction. This versatile metal, derived through fused salt electrolysis, relies heavily on crucial inputs like bauxite and magnesium, both categorized as Critical Raw Materials (CRMs).

Despite its environmental benefits, Europe grapples with a scarcity of bauxite deposits, primarily sourced from tropical regions. This reliance on external suppliers underscores the continent’s vulnerability and emphasizes the necessity for supply chain diversification strategies.

The recycling of aluminium presents a beacon of hope in mitigating environmental burdens. Not only does it significantly lower energy consumption, but it also eliminates fluorine emissions, sparing local ecosystems from potential harm. However, the challenge persists in scaling up recycling efforts to meet escalating demand.

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Aluminium’s versatility extends to its role as an alloy, enriching its properties for various applications across industries. Magnesium emerges as a key alloying element, yet the EU lacks domestic production, amplifying dependency on foreign sources. With Italy, France, and Norway halting magnesium production, China emerges as the primary supplier, exacerbating supply chain vulnerabilities.

As the world navigates towards sustainability, addressing these challenges presents an opportunity for innovation and collaboration. Developing robust recycling infrastructure and diversifying sourcing channels are imperative steps towards securing a sustainable aluminium supply chain. By leveraging technology and fostering international partnerships, Europe can fortify its position in the green transformation while reducing its reliance on external suppliers.

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