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Current challenges: Financial and environmental costs

Metal alloys are manufactured to high specifications in terms of composition and properties. The financial cost of such components is considerable, as high energy is required for the separation of the metal from the ore. In addition, ingot melting is also rather energy intensive.

Furthermore, the carbon footprint of the metal industry is very high, as shown in the table below (citation).

GLOBAL METAL INDUSTRY CARBON FOOTPRINT (2008)

Metals World Production (MT) CO2 equiv. (MT/MT) % global GHG
Iron & Steel 1,330 1 ›4
Al 38 12 ›1
Cu 17 5.5 ‹1
Zn 10 3 ‹‹1
Mg 1 ›18 ‹‹1
Ti 0.1 ›20 ‹‹1

Source: Presentation at International Aluminium Conference 2010, Dr Subad Das, www.phinix.net.

A direct consequence of the above, reducing waste in the supply chain for aerospace alloys may offer significant cost and environmental advantages.