Steel Dynamics Boosts Access to Sustainable Aluminum for Beverage, Automotive Industries

Steel Dynamics Aluminum

(Credit: PIxabay)

by | Jul 21, 2022

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Steel Dynamics Aluminum

(Credit: Pixabay)

Steel Dynamics is investing $2.2 billion in low-carbon and recycled aluminum plants that will help the automotive, beverage packaging, appliance, and other industries increase their access to sustainable aluminum.

The sites include a recycled aluminum flat rolled mill with a capacity to produce 650,000 metric tons of finished materials a year, and two satellite recycled aluminum slab centers. The sites are expected to be located in the southeastern and southwestern United States as well as northern Mexico where aluminum scrape supply is abundant.

Steel Dynamics says its customers, especially in the beverage packaging and automotive industries, are significant users of aluminum flat rolled products and increasingly seek the sustainable materials, which helped prompt the development of the facilities. The company says many of its steel customers also want aluminum materials and building the facilities will aid in adding to the metals supply chain.

The company also says the North American flat rolled aluminum industry has a supply deficit that is estimated to be more than 2 million metric tons, largely from increasing demand from the beverage can and automotive industry. That has led to more imports of the products, which accounted for more than a quarter of the region’s use in 2021. The company hopes facilities like these will help increase the domestic supply of aluminum.

The rolled mill’s use of aluminum scrap will also complement Steel Dynamics’ metals recycling platform, called OmniSource, which it says is the largest nonferrous metals recycler in North America, according to the company. Steel Dynamics says it will use 80% recycled materials for can sheet products.

The aluminum rolling mill will be located in the southeastern US and will be able to process 900,000 metric tons of aluminum slab each year. Steel Dynamics says the site will have the capacity to supply nearly half its recycled aluminum slab requirements.

The company expects 45% of the aluminum produced on the sites to go toward beverage cans, with 35% supplying the automotive industry, and 20% going to common alloy needs.

Steel Dynamics also recently teamed with Aymium on a joint venture called SDI Biocarbon Solutions that use renewable biocarbon in the steelmaking process. They are building a facility that will have the capacity to produce 160,000 metric tons of steel per year.

In May 2022, Novelis unveiled plans for a $2.5 billion aluminum recycling and rolling plant in Alabama, which will have an initial capacity of 600,000 metric tons of aluminum products per year. That facility’s primary focus will be on beverage cans as well as increasing the company’s recycling capabilities.

Steel Dynamics will own 94% of the main facility with a joint venture with Unity Aluminum, which will help provide industry expertise, the company says. Steel Dynamics will own all of the satellite operations. Production at the Mexico site is expected to begin in 2024, and at both US facilities in 2025.

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