Aluminium: Ecology and the environment: Emissions

Emissions are the release of gaseous, liquid or solid pollutants into water, the soil or the atmosphere. They also include, however, noise and vibration. The legislator lays down the maximum permitted levels of emissions in such a way that they do not pose any conceivable risks for humans or animals. In the steps involved from the extraction of aluminium right through to the end product, the release of the following emissions is worth mentioning:

  • Anodising:
    Vapours from lyes and acids
  • Bayer Process:
    Red mud, carbon dioxide (CO2) and dust
  • Fused-salt electrolysis:
    Organic substances, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, and gaseous and dust-like fluorides
  • Extrusion:
    Oil vapours
  • Remelting:
    Organic substances
  • Tolling of strip and foil:
    Organic substances

During the production and processing of aluminium, the major part of the total emissions is released during the generation of the electricity used, and not during the actual production of aluminium. This presupposes, of course, that the electricity is generated using fossil fuels.