Carbon reduction potential based on life cycle assessment of China's aluminium industry-a perspective at the province level

Yaoqi Guo, Wensong Zhu*, Yi Yang, Hui Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

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The aluminium industry, with its traditionally high energy consumption, high emissions and high pollution, is facing increasing pressure to reduce carbon emissions in China. Implementing effective policies and measures to promote carbon emissions reduction is of great importance. This study deploys the life cycle assessment (LCA) method to explore carbon emissions and CO2 sources from aluminium manufacturing in China as well as a scenario analysis to evaluate the reduction potential and driving forces of carbon emissions in the industry. The evaluated scenarios include a new capacity allocation scheme, technological progress and energy structure optimization. The carbon emissions from the aluminium chain are mostly contributed by indirect emissions (more than 68%) from electricity generation. Significant regional discrepancies are observed in the total emissions and intensity, and a reasonable industry layout tends to transfer to the south and southwest areas from the perspective of the environmental pillar. Production output remains the dominant factors associated with total carbon emissions from manufacturing firms, such as the aluminium industry. Technological progress and the energy structure contribute to total reductions and carbon efficiency, although the former has a relatively limited scope for aluminium firms. This paper also shows that marginal carbon efficiency improvements are not very effective in lowering the total CO2 emissions under the context of high output growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118004
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1. Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Aluminium
  • Carbon emissions
  • LCA
  • Reduction potential
  • Scenario analysis


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