Skip to main content

Article Category

News

Article available in the folowing languages:

Prospects and implications of increasing aluminium use

The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre has published a study on the prospects and implications of the increasing use of aluminium. The study examines trends in the automotive industry towards the greater u...

The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre has published a study on the prospects and implications of the increasing use of aluminium. The study examines trends in the automotive industry towards the greater use of aluminium for a variety of constructions and components. Aluminium has the major advantage of being lighter in weight. Therefore, the higher the proportion of aluminium used in a vehicle the less fuel is consumed, thus reducing pollution. Aluminium offers advantages over alternative lightweight materials. It is, for example, cheaper, more versatile and stronger. Currently the automotive industry consumes a relatively small proportion of aluminium production. The study therefore concludes that increased use should not affect aluminium production adversely, but should be seen by producers as an opportunity. Car manufacturers are developing new production methods to make best use of aluminium in vehicle structures, which are suitable for different production volumes. The study finds that "whole-life energy costs" (the energy required to manufacture and run a car for 150,000 km) are substantially lower for aluminium than traditional materials. Working with aluminium gives better conditions for workers than iron and steel. Although the study accepts that jobs in the iron and steel sector will be lost as aluminium increases in use, it suggests that these will be replaced by new jobs in the aluminium sector.