In recent months, aluminum has become a hot topic among automakers and environmentalists as manufacturers scramble to secure more of the precious metal for their products.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned aluminum from sale in the U.S. in the face of concerns about the metal’s potential impact on the environment.
Aluminum is found in the world’s largest fuel tanks, among its most important parts, and as a fuel additive for vehicles, industrial processes and the construction industry.
But in the past few years, some automakers have taken steps to produce their own aluminum, and some are turning to companies in Asia for raw material.
Aluminium is also an essential component of modern-day electronics, and it’s now used in new ways that can be used in both automotive and industrial processes.
In a series of studies, a group of researchers led by Harvard’s David Katz has analyzed the production of aluminum from two different sources.
Katz and his colleagues examined the global supply chain of aluminum, the supply chain that ships aluminum to a refinery, and the supply of raw aluminum from Asia.
Katz said he hopes the results will be useful to other companies in the aluminum supply chain as well.
“Aluminum production is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, but it’s also one of its most complicated,” he said.
Katz says there are several ways aluminum is produced in the global aluminum supply chains, which are often hidden from the public eye and are tightly regulated.
Aluminum in its natural state is not easily separated from the aluminum that comes from China and other nations, and those who are aware of it have a hard time tracking down raw materials.
“We found that in the supply chains that are opaque, it’s extremely difficult to identify and trace aluminum from the sources we looked at,” Katz said.
The scientists analyzed the aluminum from a variety of sources, including China, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines.
The researchers say they found that aluminum from China, South America and Taiwan has been used in more than 80% of the aluminum products made in the Americas.
The aluminum from India, which is also a key aluminum supplier, was found in only 8% of aluminum products, and in the Philippines, it was only found in less than 3% of products.
Katz believes this suggests the availability of raw materials is limited, and that the supply is being held up by stringent regulations.
“These are industries that have to go through a process of ‘buy-in’ from their suppliers,” Katz told The Washington Times.
“So what are they doing to get those raw materials, and what are their incentives to do that?”
He added that some of the incentives that come into play include a “sales tax” on raw materials that would reduce the price of aluminum in the country.
“The way that they do it is to take away from you the right to buy it from the country that you want it from, and then charge you the sales tax for what you buy from them,” Katz explained.
“That seems very perverse to me, and very counter to what consumers want in the economy.”
While it may be a little hard to understand, the researchers say that the production process is much more complicated than it may seem.
Katz, who has published several papers on the topic, said that most aluminum production in the industrial sector in the developing world is done in the middle of a forest, and because the trees are so dense, it can take decades for aluminum to be made.
The team also found that, although raw aluminum is used to make a lot of the components used in automotive and parts manufacturing, it is also used in a wide variety of manufacturing processes, including the building of industrial robots and the building and manufacturing of electronics and consumer electronics.
“It’s not as simple as you might think,” Katz added.
“It’s a lot more complicated.”