Mr. R K Jain,
Sr. Vice President - Commercial,Jindal Aluminum limited
Aluminium, today, is driving the growth of industries across the globe owing to its versatile and sustainable nature. Growing relevance of aluminium has led to its adoption across industries. It is ranging from construction, aerospace, automobile, power, consumer durables and many more.
The journey of Aluminium is note-worthy, because, in the early 19th century, aluminium was perceived as just an industrial metal . Aluminium was largely used for power transmission and electrical wiring. The World War II threw some light to industries on the increasing usage of this metal. The perception changed as it began to be recognised as a strategic metal owing to its increased usage in aircrafts and ships.
India, among the top five aluminium producing countries, was soon to exploit this trend and gradually increased the application of this metal across industries.
The consumption of the metal grew exponentially. In 2018, 60 million metric tons of aluminium was consumed globally, which is a testament to the growing potential of this green metal.
Today, the aluminium industry has evolved and transformed with the advent of technological disruption. In 2017, the global production of aluminium grew by 5.7% which was largely driven by the below mentioned trends that are governing the aluminium industry globally.
India is currently accountable for 8% of the total aluminium production globally, heavily supplying to industries like construction and transport. The past few years, however have seen a shift in this demand. Different forms of this metal, like aluminium flat rolled products and alloys are increasingly used to make consumer products like aluminium foil, cans and boxes. While transport and construction will continue to be key consumers of aluminium, industries like industrial machines, packaging and consumer durables will further drive the demand for this metal.
With technology disrupting industries, the aluminium industry too has kept up the pace. The industry has seen rapid adoption of technologies like MIVAN technology, commonly known as the aluminium form work system where aluminium is used in casting to create the form work of buildings. The green construction technology is another trend where aluminium is increasingly being featured in high performance and LEED certified buildings.
Aluminium’s structural strength is a property that makes it a preferred metal in infrastructure. The Indian government’s focus on the establishment of 100 Smart Cities is expected to drive the demand for aluminium in the construction sector. The mission of Smart Cities, Make in India and Rural Urbanisation aligns with the vision of sustainable development and what better than a sustainable metal like aluminium to support these initiatives.
Aluminium has been powering the transport industry as it enhances fuel efficiency while reducing the carbon footprint we leave behind. There has been a global acceptance of electric vehicles and this is only going to increase the demand of the versatile metal. Nowadays, high-energy aluminium air flow batteries are slowly replacing gasoline powered batteries in electric vehicles as they weigh and cost lesser. Electric vehicles have seen a surge in sales globally accounting to 4,21,000 buses and 3.5 million passenger vehicles.It will also boost the aluminium demand in 2020.
Aluminium is the only metal that is 100% recyclable and is increasingly being found in green and sustainable buildings. The recyclability of aluminium ensures lesser energy consumption as aluminium retains its form throughout its life cycle. It also provides insulation and is resistant to corrosion due to external factors like the weather. Aluminium alloys also showcase structural strength and therefore support large solar and glass panels in green buildings making it a natural choice of metal in green infrastructure.
2019 saw world economies coming together to fight plastic pollution and adopt greener alternatives. India alone consumes 26000 tonnes of plastic in a day. To counter this, companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi moved over to aluminium cans that were environment-friendly. In 2020, we will see this trend picking up pace as the need to switch to greener materials and generating lesser waste is more pertinent now than ever before.
As the world’s second largest metal market, the aluminium market in India is currently growing at a pace of 8% CAGR. India has the 5th largest bauxite reserve in the world .This can contribute to the aluminium production and exports in the coming year given the rising demand for the metal. India is catching up with its global counterparts on trends like Green infrastructure that will fuel the demand for aluminium. Owing to its sustainable properties, the aluminium industry is only going to see onward and upward journey from here on.
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