How is aluminium produced?
Aluminium does not appear in pure form in nature. The earth’s crust does consist of 8.5% aluminium compounds including other elements. The highest concentrations of aluminium can be found in the bauxite ore, which is mined in Australia, Latin America and Africa, among others.
How is aluminium extracted?
In order to produce 1 kg of pure aluminium, approx. 4.6 kg of bauxite are required. Alumina (1.9 kg) is extracted from the bauxite. The residue (2.7 kg), referred to as “red mud” can be partially used as artificial fertiliser, filling material for asphalt roads, the colouring of roof tiles, water purification, etc. The alumina is electrolytically reduced in a bath, from which new, liquid aluminium is poured into various moulds (mould ingots, tee ingots, rectangular slabs or extrusion billets). The production process requires a lot of energy, of which 65% is generated by hydro-electric power stations.
From slab to profile
Castings such as handles or floor grills are made from “ingots”. The tee ingots are thinly rolled into façade plates, among others. The slabs are extruded into profiles.
Indefinite reuse possible
One of the major assets of aluminium is that it can be reused an endless number of times without loss of quality. This recycling process only uses 5 to 10% of the energy required for the primary production of aluminium from raw materials. Nearly two-thirds of the aluminium used today is the result of recycling.
Aluminium: 100% recyclable
Aluminium can be 100% recycled without loss of quality. Recycling only uses 5 % of the energy required to produce new aluminium.
The recycling of aluminium scrap currently saves around 80 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, equivalent to removing 15 million cars from the world’s roads. That is why Reynaers Aluminium enthusiastically promotes the recycling of aluminium. Currently 60% of the aluminium in use in the world is recycled aluminium.
Click here to read more about the recyclability of aluminium and to view the video 'Reynaers keeps aluminium alive'.
source: EAA Aluminium cycle