ITAS 09-21 Master Thesis: Life Cycle Assessment of current and future Aluminium production chains for reactive metal storage solutions (AluStore)


Abschlussarbeiten (Bachelor- und Masterarbeiten)


Energy storage technologies are an important element of the future European decarbonised energy system. Reactive metals such as Na, Mg and Al can be easily produced (or regenerated) by electrolysis using renewable sources (Power-to-X). The AluStore project investigates the use of Aluminium as reactive metal energy carrier through electrochemical energy conversion. The project aims to scrutinize and experimentally demonstrate the utilization of Aluminium as a cathode material in a mechanically rechargeable battery for seasonal energy storage. However, state of the art aluminium production (in particular the Hall-Héroult process) is an energy intensive process and uses carbon anodes for the electrolytic reduction process which yields corresponding direct and indirect emissions. In fact, the carbon-based electrodes used for the Hall-Héroult process react with the molten cryolite-based electrolyte solution leading to the emission of e.g. perfluorocarbons (PFCs). Thus, a solution to lower the emission from this process may be the implementation of emerging inert anodes and the use of electricity from renewable sources. The goal of the master thesis is to analyse in detail the potential environmental impacts of Al production and recycling by the use of life cycle assessment (LCA).

The planned master thesis is a cooperation of KIT/ITAS (, and the KIT/HIU (

Required tasks within the scope of the above-mentioned topic descrip-tion:

  • Conducting a comprehensive literature review of the field
    • Bauxite mining
    • Present Al production and transportation routes
    • LCA datasets for Al production
  • Analysis of the current state of knowledge in the field of Al- Value chains and future developments as basis for the life cycle inventory:
    • Definition of materials to be analyzed in detail
    • Definition of first generic, simple business cases
    • Gather input and feedback from the industry
  • Analyzing the Al production chain with the LCA software tool  OpenLCA as implemented in ecoinvent database
  • Creating an updated life-cycle inventory model of the Al process chain
  • Carrying out a comprehensive LCA Analysis
  • Providing a first explorative overview of the potential environmen-tal impacts of future Aluminium production and recycling
  • Sensitivity analysis, critical reflection of results, recommendations for further research

Persönliche Qualifikation

  • Students of industrial engineering, process engineering or similar disciplines
  • Basic technical and economic understanding of energy technologies
  • Good knowledge of MS Office, especially Excel
  • First knowledge in the field of life cycle assessment
  • Independent and result-oriented way of working
  • Good English speaking and writing skills



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