European and Global Challenges

Industry Representation before European Aluminium

The Evolution of European Aluminium

Addressing Sustainability

Aluminium in Mobility

Aluminium in Building & Construction

Aluminium in Packaging

The Faces of European Aluminium
Aluminium in Mobility
“From the Earth to the Moon”
As early as 1865, a few years after the discovery of aluminium, the French novelist Jules Verne, who was passionate about innovation, imagined a trip to the moon in a rocket made of aluminium. A century later, the conquest of space will confirm his intuition.

© Drawing by Georges Méliès – Coll. La Cinémathèque
Aluminium wins the America’s Cup
The yacht Defender with its hull of aluminium alloys won the prestigious cup, a first demonstration of the light metal’s benefits in the nautical field. During the 1960s, prestigious transatlantic boats such as France would follow, before aluminium imposed itself in the 1990s by its lightness in the construction of high-speed ships.

© AKG-Images / De Agostini / Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Jamais Contente
On May 1, 1899, the world car speed record over 1 km was shattered in France, going from 66 to 105.8 km per hour! The feat is achieved by the "Jamais Contente", an electric motor car with a tapered hull made of aluminium alloy.

© RMN-Grand Palais (domaine de Compiègne) / René-Gabriel Ojéda
The first rigid airship was created by Ferdinand von Zeppelin, a German engineer who used aluminium extrusions containing soft balloons for its body. More than 130 of these aircrafts were built to serve for military purposes during WW1 and for civilian transportation later.

© AKG-Images / Imagno
In 1906, the development by Alfred Wilm of a new alloy, Duralumin, promoted the diffusion of aluminium in the field of aviation. Used in the fuselage and wings of airplanes, it will also be used in automobile bodies, structures and tram panels.

Duralumin roof car of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-lits © IHA
Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
Three years after the founding of the firm, Rolls-Royce presents the “Silver Ghost”, a legendary model with a polished aluminium body. At the start of the 20th century, other prestigious manufacturers such as Mercedes, BMW and Alfa Romeo were exploiting the lightness and ductility of aluminium.

© Underwood Archives / UIG / Bridgeman Images
Junkers vs Breguet
The First World War saw the appearance of the first all-metal planes. The German Junkers and the French Breguet released, a few months apart, their first models in aluminium, a metal which will then become inseparable from the development of aeronautics.

Departure of French Breguet planes for a reconnaissance mission during winter, 1914-1918 © Heritage-Images / The Print Collector / AKG-Images
Alpax, “aluminium for peace”
In the aftermath of the First World War, the Hungarian engineer Aladar Pacz developed Alpax, a silicon alloy which greatly improved the mechanical properties of aluminium castings, such as engine blocks. In 1921, automobile construction absorbed 75% of the aluminium sold in France.

Bugatti, Type 35, 1924 © Bugatti
Panhard Dyna
During the war, Jean-Albert Grégoire (1899-1992) developed, with French industrialists, the prototype of a revolutionary car, largely using aluminium, and comprising a carcass made of elements cast in Alpax. The result was the Panhard Dyna, with an aluminium engine block, carcass and body. 50,000 models were produced from 1946 to 1952.

Sputnik 1 launches the space exploration
One of the first spacecraft ever sent into space, the Sputnik satellite, was launched by the USSR, opening up long-term competition with the United States (Apollo Program) and then Europe (Ariane) for the conquest of space. Sputnik 1 was a ball 58 cm in diameter weighing 84-kg.

© AKG-Images
First flight for Airbus
The 1950s and 1960s gave rise to a race for innovation in aeronautics: new families of more efficient aluminium alloys were developed, elements of ever-larger dimensions were manufactured, sheets of variable thickness were rolled. Europe is joining forces to create a giant capable of playing a leading role in the global aviation industry. The Airbus A300, the first twin-engine wide-body aircraft in the world took off in 1972. Its distant successor, the very wide-body long-haul A380 flew in 2014, with aluminium parts representing 61% of the aircraft's structural weight.

An aluminium truck prototype
Designed by aluminium producer Alusuisse, a 16 tonne demonstration truck used aluminium not only for the cabin and chassis but also for many components: bumpers, wheel rims, fuel and air tanks, battery box, and silencer…(2).

© Alusuisse
Al-Li, alliage for the future
The race for weight reduction was revived in the 1980s by competition with composite materials. A new alloy, aluminium-lithium (Al-Li), was developed through extensive research efforts, giving the "air metal" new opportunities.

Aluminium-Lithium part for an aircraft landing gear, commonly called "The Penguin” © IHA
Double-decker TGV
With its aluminium structural parts, the TGV-Duplex, third generation of high-speed train, weighs 12% less than the traditional TGV. It allows the new train to transport 40% more passengers and provides superior passive safety.

An 'all-aluminium' car: Audi A2
In the 1990s, Audi released two "all-aluminium" car models, the Audi A8 and then the Audi A2. The space frame, using high strength alloys, combined with many body parts, substantially reduced the weight of the vehicles, increasing their fuel efficiency while ensuring their safety. The launch of these models initiated a gradual approach to the penetration of aluminium in the automobile.

Creation of European Aluminium ‘Automotive’
and ‘Mass Transportation’ Market Groups
The ‘Automotive Market Group’ gathering members active in the passenger car market, and the ‘Mass Transportation Market Group’ bringing together members active in commercial road, rail and marine transport are created.

© European Aluminium
Aluminium market for road
tanker vehicles is saved
Aluminium market for road tanker vehicles is saved thanks to successful European Aluminium’s advocacy in the ADR, the Agreement for the Transport of Dangerous goods by Road, managed by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

© European Aluminium
Launch of education activities
The Aluminium Automotive Manual was designed as a reference tool for users, designers and car manufacturers. It aimed at providing broad technical information on aluminium automotive applications. Over the course of its successive editions, the Manual has completed its approach in six categories: applications, design, materials, products, manufacturing technologies and joining techniques ( In 2011, an additional manual focused on Aluminium in Commercial Vehicles is published in English, French and German (

© European Aluminium
Promotion of aluminium
in European Commercial Vehicles Fairs
A collection of aluminium applications in trucks and trailers is put together and exhibited on 120 m2 booths in leading European commercial vehicles fairs between 2002 and 2004: BedrijfsautoRAI in Amsterdam, IAA-Nutzfahrzeuge in Hannover, Solutrans in Lyon 2003, Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, supported by advertising and press campaign that led to the publication of more than 150 articles in the trade press.

The EAA booth at Amsterdam commercial vehicles show (BedrijfsautoRAI) in January 2002. © European Aluminium
Alumaximized Car
The Association publishes the Alumaximized Car Study delivered by Aachen University in Germany determining the growth of aluminium in the automobile sector to meet the objectives of sustainability and safety: “Cars” have been putting on an average weight of about 15 kilos per year for the last 25 years! However, there is a remedy. The optimum use of aluminium can bring Europe’s compact cars weight back to that of the 70’s: from the presently more than 1 200kg to less than 800kg, while keeping modern day performance, safety and comfort.”

© European Aluminium
To ensure wide dissemination of its positions, the EAA created a newsletter, Aludrive, intended for the automotive industry, the press and European institutions. Nowadays, Aludrive is still published with several editions per year ( )

© European Aluminium
SuperLIGHT-CAR project
Two European Aluminium Members participated to a 4-year collaborative R&D project co-funded by the European Commission and gathering 38 leading organizations from nine European countries. They worked together to bring lightweight automotive technologies closer to high-volume car production, with the objective to deliver solutions allowing up to a 35% weight reduction in future generations of popular vehicles. The involvement of the aluminium industry was based on the Lightweight Aluminium-intensive Automotive Solutions (LAAS) EU project application initiated in 2002 by the European Aluminium Association.

© European Aluminium
Automotive & Transport Group
‘Organization: Automotive’ and ‘Mass Transportation’ Market Groups are merged into a single group, the present ‘Automotive & Transport’ Market Group.

Maximum truck lengths extended
creating new market for aluminium
Publication of joint study with Transport & Environment NGO and complementary study by European Aluminium, enabled the enlargement of maximum road tractors’ length during the revision of the EU Trucks Weight and Dimension Directive - This study was the beginning of a long advocacy campaign that resulted in longer and safer trucks being allowed in the EU. The first truck designed according to the new Directive an containing an aluminium crash management system is expected to be on the roads by the end of 2021.

© European Aluminium
Aluminium is good for electric car
A study entrusted to the Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen GmbH Aachen (fka) by the EAA addresses the way aluminium can reduce the cost of electric cars. The stakes are high because the electric car is establishing itself in Europe as a major solution in the fight against CO2 emissions. The number of registrations in Europe begins to grow and the movement will increase at the end of the 2010s: 2018: 199,636 / 2019: 360,164 / 2020: 745,684 registrations.

© European Aluminium
Forecast the evolution of
aluminium content in cars
A study entrusted to Ducker by the EAA analyzed the proportion of aluminium contained in European cars and envisaged its evolution in the coming years. The study has been updatedin 2016 and 2019. Between its first issue and 2019 the average aluminium content per car has increased from 140 kg to 180 kg.

Aluminium Content in European Passenger Cars study, 2019. © DuckerFrontier and European Aluminium
Automotive Life-Cycle Assessment
The Automotive Life-Cycle Assessment Model is a tool developed by a group of aluminium and automotive industry experts for comparing the impact of different lightweighting solutions in terms of their net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the full vehicle life-cycle. It is the product of more than ten years of collaboration between European Aluminium and the International Aluminium Institute (IAI). The model has last been updated in 2019.

Old cast scap © European Aluminium
The Sustainability Roadmap
of European Aluminium
As a part of the Sustainability Roadmap of European Aluminium, the Automotive & Transport market group set some goals to be met by 2025. One of them was to work on an End-of-Life vehicle recycling roadmap to help the members to better understand how this could be developed and improved in the future. Several projects have been launched and finalized and has improved the understanding of the shredding and alloy separation technologies used today and also paved the way for some future developments.

© European Aluminium
Study highlights the potential
of selective dismantling from end-of-life vehicles
A study on the potential of dismantling of car parts from End-of-Life vehicles before shredding was carried out as a collaboration project between the Automotive & Transport Market group and some members of the Recycling Division with the support of the consultant IRT-M2P. The study could show that selective dismantling is possible and could result in a cleaner fraction of aluminium scrap coming from End-of-Life Vehicles.

© European Aluminium