The U.S. Aluminum Industry’s Energy Problem and Energy Solution

Aluminum is critical to our economic and national security through its defense, aerospace, electricity, and transportation uses. Demand will continue to grow as the economy transitions to a more sustainable energy future with the electrification of automobiles and new green technologies.

A new report from SAFE’s Center for Strategic Industrial Materials (C-SIM), The U.S. Aluminum Industry’s Energy Problem and Energy Solution, analyzes the dichotomy between rising demand for aluminum and its energy-saving benefits versus the declining production in the U.S. due to its energy intensity in the production phase. This is the first report in a series of policy papers regarding the various issues impacting domestic primary aluminum production.

Key Takeaways:

  • Existing and new drivers for aluminum are growing rapidly, which will widen the gap between demand and secure supply.
  • As vital as recycling is, the volume of secondary output is not sufficient to meet rising demand; more U.S. production of primary aluminum is needed.
  • Narrowed focus on the smelting process of the supply chain will help overcome the U.S. demand-secure production gap.
  • Without action on domestic primary, the U.S. is at risk of a much larger reliance on the UAE, Russia, and China for critical infrastructures, military needs, and clean technologies.
  • Energy challenges underpin this threat and undermine the economic viability of the primary aluminum industry in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Decarbonizing innovations in primary aluminum technologies can be a lifeline to industry as green aluminum becomes increasingly globally competitive.
  • By leveraging new and existing policies, the United States has the power to avoid these damaging results.