New increases in the use of aluminum in consumer electronics, automobiles, packaging and infrastructure are among the top drivers for growth in rolled aluminum products, and concerns about sustainability are behind much of the trend, according to Philip Martens, president and COO of Novelis Inc.
Martens spoke on June 22 at CRU's 15th Annual Aluminium Conference in Oslo, Norway. Novelis is the world's largest producer of rolled aluminum and the global leader in beverage can recycling.
According to Martens, the sustainability characteristics of aluminum are especially important in:
- Consumer electronics. Aluminum saves weight, dissipates heat and adds to the product's recyclability.
- Automobiles. Changes in the regulatory environment worldwide and demands for light-weighting could increase automotive applications of aluminum beyond current projections.
- Packaging. The recycled content of aluminum cans globally is estimated at 68%, higher than any other beverage container, including plastic and glass.
- Infrastructure. The building industry is looking for higher recycled content, such as aluminum, in structural materials.
Sustainability is becoming a driver for more and more policy and product decisions, observed Martens, which will open opportunities for the environmental benefits of aluminum. "I believe that recycling holds the key to a successful future for our industry," he said.
Novelis estimates global demand for aluminum will rise "about four percent annually over the next five years," said Martens, "with Asia being perhaps double that rate."