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Uncovering driving forces on greenhouse gas emissions in China’ aluminum industry from the perspective of life cycle analysis

Liu, Zhe, Geng, Yong, Adams, Michelle, Dong, Liang, Sun, Lina, Zhao, Jingjing, Dong, Huijuan, Wu, Jiao, Tian, Xu
Applied energy 2016 v.166 pp. 253-263
aluminum, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, industry, issues and policy, life cycle assessment, China
With the rapid growth of aluminum production, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in China’s aluminum industry (CAI) is posing a significant challenge. In this study, the energy-related GHG emission trajectories, features and driving forces of CAI are analyzed from the perspective of life cycle analysis (LCA) from 2004 to 2013. Results indicate that CAI experienced a rapid growth of energy-related GHG emissions with an average annual growth of 28.5 million tons CO2e from 2004 to 2013. Energy-scale effect is the main driving force for energy-related GHG emissions increase in CAI, while emission-factor effect of secondary aluminum production plays a marginal effect. Construction and transportation-related activities account for the bulk of the embodied emissions, accounting for more than 40% of the total embodied emissions from CAI. Policy implications for GHG mitigation within the CAI, such as developing secondary aluminum industry, improving energy mix and optimizing resource efficiency of production, are raised.