Environmental Assessment of Aluminium Production in Europe: Current Situation and Future Scenarios
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A multiregional input-output model representing the world in the year 2000 was constructed based on statistical data, and combined with process specific data on a primary aluminium supply chain, to create a model of the global primary aluminium industry. Using input-output methodology, total emissions of eight substances due to primary aluminium production, their size and origins, were estimated and expressed in terms of global warming potential (GWP) and acidification potential (AP). Simulations from 2000 to 2030 were run based on final demand estimates from external GDP projections and three assumed development scenarios. The baseline, scenario 0, assumed no changes in technologies or relative production and trade patterns - only the model's response to the expected change in final demand was analyzed. By contrast, both scenarios 1 and 2 assumed that the additional aluminium production predicted by the baseline would be produced exclusively in China. Scenario 2 employed the added assumption that the Norwegian aluminium production would experience a steady decline from its 2000 level to zero by 2030. The baseline scenario showed rapidly increasing aluminium output towards 2030, following the expected GDP developments. Emissions followed the same trend, increasing about 3.3 times over the three decades. As for total cradle-to-gate impacts of primary aluminium production, the model showed large variations from one region to another. Emissions per ton of Chinese primary aluminium were high relative to most other regions, hence the total global GWP and AP from primary aluminium production rose more rapidly in scenarios 1 and 2 than in scenario 0. By 2030, the GWP in scenarios 1 and 2 were 11.4% and 12.5 higher than in the baseline, while AP were 50.0 and 51.9 higher.