Baosteel produces low-carbon aluminium can with private smelter

Chinese canmaking giant Baosteel has trialled production of a low-carbon aluminium can designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Half of the metal used in the container is derived from used beverage cans (UBCs) and 35% from aluminium produced in smelters that use hydro-electric power. The remainder is sourced from Baosteel’s canmaking plant scrap. 

The Shanghai-based company said it had made the cans with alloy manufactured by Zouping Hongfa, a unit of China Hongqiao, which is one of the world’s largest aluminium producers. Baosteel said the cans had been made and tested at its Baoyi canmaking plant in Shanghai.

“Various indicators have performed well,” a press release stated.

Chinese canmakers are striving to match their overseas rivals in reducing their carbon footprint as consumers the world over demand more sustainable packaging and amid growing environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) regulations. Aluminium smelting requires vast quantities of electricity and in China that’s predominantly sourced from coal-fired power stations with associated carbon dioxide emissions.

In a bid to encourage ‘greener’ factories and to ease concerns of Western customers, China’s aluminium industry has launched a low-carbon aluminium accreditation scheme for mills and smelters. The China Green Metal Certification Centre (CGMC), which is run by the China Nonferrous Metal Industry Association, reportedly has certified 2.24 million tonnes of ‘green’ aluminium since its formation in June, representing around 7% of total production in the country.

China Hongqiao, which is led by billionaire Zhang Bo, said it aims to harness more hydro-electric power to reduce its carbon footprint.

Chinese demand for low-carbon aluminium is expected to more than double to 12 million tonnes by 2030, four times the anticipated demand of the rest of the world, according to state-backed Chinese researcher Antaike.

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