Wider application of aluminum will further enhance energy efficiency and contribute to sustainable city development and construction, an executive of global integrated aluminum maker Alcoa said.
"The concept of sustainable development as the most important part of urban planning has reached a global consensus," Helmut Wieser, executive vice-president of Alcoa said to China Daily exclusively at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin.
"In addition to the regular content needed in urban planning, we must also take into consideration the issue of resources and the environment concerning urban development in order to achieve the sustainable development."
Also known as the Summer Davos economic forum, the annual meeting features the theme of "Next Wave of Growth," with sustainable city planning and construction one of key discussion topics.
To build a sustainable city, urban traffic capacity and urban resource supply are decisive factors that cannot be neglected.
The application of environmentally friendly materials in traffic and transportation and urban construction is of great importance, according to Alcoa.
Using a considerable amount of aluminum in automobiles will improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions of greenhouse gas. With China's large population, transportation such as trains, automobiles and others are frequently used. If aluminum is widely adopted in transportation, the discharge of the greenhouse gases will be greatly reduced, Wieser said.
Aluminum can account for as much as 90 percent of the material used in manufacturing automobiles. The percentage at present is very low in China, but the situation has started to change.
The global integrated aluminum maker has started pilot projects in China to showcase the advantages of making automotives of aluminum. Market reaction has been quite positive, Wieser said.
Alcoa cooperated with the Beijing Public Transportation Co and provided the forged aluminum wheels for 50 electric motorcycles. A new type of environmentally friendly bus jointly introduced by Alcoa and Yutong Bus was road tested in August. The successful application of the series of advanced ground transportation technologies helped Beijing meet the requirements of a high-efficiency transportation.
Moreover, with the price of iron continuing to soar, the cost gap between aluminum and steel as auto producing materials will further narrow, Wieser added.
In buildings, people can keep more cold air in the room in summer and more hot air in the room in winter to save energy consumption through proper design and usage of aluminum.
Alcoa's construction product Reynolux has been widely used in many newly built facilities including the Terminal 3 of the Capital International Airport and the National Indoor Stadium for its aesthetic appeal and exceptional weather resistance.
Presence in China
There is widespread urban construction and city development underway in Tianjin and its Binhai New Area, which will bring unprecedented business opportunities to global giants such as Alcoa, Wieser said.
The Airbus assembly line set to begin operation in Tianjin during Summer Davos, which will further fuel Alcoa's business in Tianjin and in China at large, Wieser said.
"Tianjin has grown significantly in the past decade, and is supposed to be the next growth engine of China. The city has conditions to be both a production hub and a robust consuming market as well. Although we do not have a major investment here in Tianjin, we do not exclude such a possibility in the future," the senior Alcoa executive said.
The primary goal of Alcoa in China is to develop along with the Chinese aluminum industry, which is witnessing an annual growth rate of 24 percent. Market data shows the great potential of the Chinese aluminum industry.
As an industry leader, Alcoa has focused on the continuing improvement of its existing business and productive force in China. By 2020, China's aluminum consumption will be equal to the total amount of all the other countries in the world today.
And the development of Tianjin and its Binhai New Area will naturally enable Alcoa to occupy an even more important position in the industry, which will serve as both an opportunity and a challenge for the company, according to Wieser.
"China is the market that catches the most attention of Alcoa, so any emerging force in this market cannot be ignored. Alcoa will continue to increase our investment in China and thus probably become one of China's top 10 major foreign investors in the next decade," he said.
Alcoa is not only contributing to sustainable city development, but also forging sustainable growth in its own production.
It is Alcoa's value that the environment comes first if there is any conflict between production, profit and environmental protection.
"Considering that sustainable development is a long-term investment, we will do our best to minimize the impact of operations on the environment. At the same time, we are always ready to share with the industry the achievements that Alcoa has made in the fields of environmental protection and energy conservation because we are convinced that only by making great strides in those areas can we achieve the sound and long-term development of the enterprise itself and the whole industry."