Making alumina is dirty and polluting, and it's back in the USA.
There's an alumina crisis in the world right now; supplies of the white powder are tight and prices are rising. And the first question that even my spellchecker asks is, what's alumina? It keeps changing it to aluminum. It's not; it is aluminum oxide, the stuff that aluminum is made from.
Everyone knows that aluminum is the green wonder metal; it makes Teslas and Fords lighter and more energy efficient, and is so easily recycled, saving over 90 percent of the energy that is needed to make new metal. What could be wrong with this picture?
What's wrong is that demand for aluminum far exceeds the supply of recycled aluminum and that demand is growing with every new light electric car or truck. Whenever I suggest this might be a problem (as I did in my review of Carl Zimring's book, Aluminum Upcycled) readers write "this is absurd" and "BS" and what's wrong with aluminum? So let's discuss this alumina crisis and go through it again, this time backwards from the finished product.
Tennessee Valley Authority/Public Domain