Keynote Speakers


Environmental Advantages of Sustainable Aluminum Structures

Jürgen R. Hirsch
Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products R&D Bonn


The production of Aluminium is challenged worldwide by ecological and environmental restrictions. In any industrial process costs and negative environmental impacts must be kept as low as possible. For Aluminium its high energy consumption for primary production is an issue. So many Aluminium companies are addressing the issue. Hydro has the most ambitious strategy in the industry to become carbon neutral in a life cycle perspective by 2020. It is described how the efficient production and the use of aluminium products can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a life cycle perspective. It is discussed to what extent Aluminium production and products actually harm or potentially benefit the climate. The methodology for the correct calculation of the impact is presented, including the use phase benefits and recycling credits which can compensate the negative data from aluminium production and processing. Negative and positive effects are analyzed, how they contribute CO2 emissions or to climate protection. A reliable and life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology is presented, as required by the international LCA standard ISO 14040ff, and used to analyze typical cases to their impact on greenhouse gas emissions, as e.g. Aluminium in packaging, avoiding chilled storage or Aluminium in transport where weight reduction saves energy in the use phase.


Jürgen Hirsch is a senior consultant for Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products R&D Bonn; Professor at the Institute of Physical Metallurgy & Metal Physics (IMM) Technical University RWTH Aachen; CTO of HoDforming GmbH Düsseldorf; Lecturer IUL at Technische Universität TU Dortmund; Guest Professor at Central South University, Changsha, China; and Remote Researcher at Samara National Research University, Russia. He is a member of the board of the German Society for Material Science (DGM), where he served as president in 2015-16, and is head of FA “Aluminium”. He is also a member of the EUMAT EU platform steering committee and a member of the ICAA international committee, where he served as president from 2004-16.

Dr. Hirsch completed his Dr.-Ing. in material science and engineering at the IMM Institute of Physical Metallurgy & Metal Physics at the University RWTH Aachen in 1985. In 1988, he began work at Alcoa Technical Center (R&D) in Pittsburgh, USA, as a senior engineer. In 1991, he took a position as senior scientist at VAW Aluminium AG / Bonn (F&E), where he served as Head of Department for Rolling. This organization changed into Hydro Aluminium / Bonn (R&D) in 2002. In 2017, he became Consultant for “Aluminium - Metallurgy, Processing and Application”. He has authored over 200 technical publications and articles and has edited several books on aluminium.