By Pragun Jindal Khaitan
India’s ambitious 500 GW renewable energy target and the adoption of aluminium extrusion products are set to collaborate on mission mode to accelerate the country’s transition to a low-carbon energy system. Having been at the forefront as the foundation for energy-efficient industries, communities and economies around the world, aluminium extrusions are now being widely sought to build renewable energy platforms like solar panels and wind turbines.
With benefits of circular economy and re-utilization capabilities, aluminium has established itself as a key material for meeting our renewable energy targets and tackling the environmental and sustainability challenges of the 21st century. A strong, lightweight, and reusable metal, aluminium with technological improvements and constant innovation, is being seen as a suitable metal to take lead in the low-carbon green development space.
Aluminium extrusions are ubiquitous and essential to human progress. Aluminium extruded products are one of the few raw materials that have helped the aluminium industry reinvent itself for a sustainable future. The Glasgow pact and India’s renewed commitment to clean energy and carbon reduction aim to solve humanity’s biggest climate change problem. As India approaches 50% renewable energy and 500 gigawatts of non-fossil energy capacity by 2030, aluminium extrusion demand is rising.
Aluminium extrusion: Shaping the green future
Aluminium extrusion is growing as non-fossil-based industries like solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and nuclear demand lightweight and durable extruded products to meet additional renewable energy capacity. The consumption of aluminium is projected to reach 7.2 million tonnes in the coming five years. Globally, the aluminium extrusion market size is estimated to reach 118.7 billion dollars by 2027. In India, the market was valued at 1.3 billion dollars in 2019. And it is expected to reach 2.5 billion dollars by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 8.3% from 2020 to 2027.
Across the globe, India is the fifth-largest producer of Aluminium in the world. With the construction and industrial sectors and a greater emphasis on the renewable energy sector, the aluminium extrusion industry is all set to play a significant role in the growth of the Indian economy and bring it to the front on a global stage to become a leader of a sustainable world.
The technological innovations and advancements in the aluminium extrusion industry over the last few years have given market players the opportunity to realize the industry’s growth potential. In India, the aluminium extrusion market is segmented based on products and end-user industries.
While the mill-finished, anodized and powder-coated aluminium is based on product, end-users are categorized into building and construction, electrical and electronics, automotive & transportation, and industrial. Aluminium extrusions’ wide and multifaceted usage to create a variety of frameworks and structures for instance solar panels, supports and connectors are transforming the renewable energy industry.
New paradigm replacing the traditional
As green initiatives and pacts rise on the global stage, linear economies are being transformed into circular economies. The 7 R’s’ of Sustainability — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redesign, Renew, Repair and Recover is the guideline that refers to the necessary actions aimed at improving the lifetime of the resources through their rational use to generate value repeatedly. Driven by performance and physical characteristics, aluminium has taken a front seat in revolutionizing the renewable energy sector.
Due to its strong, malleability, lightweight, durable, resistance to corrosion, non-toxic and endless recyclable nature, this metal is a vital material among leading players across the globe who are continuously evolving its usage to cater to the requirements of the future. From being the most desirable element that meets the 7 R’s’ of Sustainability to the preferred choice in the hands of architecture, aluminium extruded products are proving to be the game-changer for developing economies like India which is progressively reaching its low carbon economy target before the set deadline.
Leading the renewable energy sector
The physical properties of aluminium, among them, are strength, malleability and low weight, making it a promising element in achieving the vision of a sustainable world. The lightweight and high strength-to-weight ratio of this metal provide added strength at a decreased weight to large structures and constructions. Its high tensile strength and rigidity provide resistance to deformation.
The thick layer of aluminium oxide makes aluminium highly resistant to corrosion unlike other metals such as steel and iron. Further, the high corrosion resistance of extruded aluminium will increase the demand in the renewable energy sector exponentially as it also leads to reduced maintenance costs. With the rise in demand for flexible aluminium extruded products, industry players can offer a wide range of products with various shapes and sizes to fasten the efforts towards increased usage of clean energy.
Towards a sustainable world
Finally, as we chart a course toward clean energy and India makes the transition toward a clean, cost-effective, and optimised renewable energy network, it is crucial to maintain the innovations in the field of aluminium extrusion applications so that it forms a solid foundation for the growth of green power and the realisation of a cleaner, carbon and fossil-free world.
(Pragun Jindal Khaitan is the vice chairman and managing director at Jindal Aluminium. The views expressed are author’s own)