Despite a highly competitive global market for magnesium and a recent decline in U.S. primary metal production, EPA’s partners continue to improve their operational efficiencies and environmental performance by optimizing SF6 cover gas concentrations, flow rates, and delivery mechanisms as well as actively seeking and repairing leaks in the gas distribution systems. Growing demand for lightweight magnesium automotive parts and hand-held electronic devices (e.g., 3 C’s: computers, communications, and cameras) supports strong growth in the magnesium casting sectors. The growing demand for primary magnesium and magnesium alloys is expected to be met by US Magnesium as well as international suppliers.
The figure below shows the U.S. magnesium industry’s historical and expected future SF6 emissions in blue and yellow bars respectively compared to its “business as usual” (BAU) emissions in green. The industry’s emissions are expressed in equivalent million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMTCO2). The BAU scenario reflects the industry’s direct SF6 emissions assuming no actions are taken aiming specifically to reduce emissions. The difference between the industry’s BAU and actual/projected emissions represents the partnership’s environmental benefit.
EPA’s partners have established a climate protection goal of eliminating SF6 emissions by the end of 2010 and are working together aggressively to study and implement alternative melt protection technologies.
U.S. Magnesium Industry BAU vs. Actual/Projected Emissions (1998-2011)1
1 EPA’s Partnership does not presently include 100% of the U.S. magnesium industry. Therefore, EPA assumes non-partner companies will continue using SF6-based melt protection leading to a small amount of SF6 emissions in 2011 after the Partners achieve their climate protection goal.