Earlier this week, Mercury Marine received the Sustainable Process Award from the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Counci during its Sustainable Business Awards Ceremony. The award recognized Mercury Marine for several sustainable practices in the Fond du Lac, Wis., company’s process of using aluminum for manufacturing outboard marine engine blocks, including those for its most current V-6 and V-8 outboard engines.
Integral to its V-6 and V-8 outboard engines programs, Mercury Marine’s reuse of a crucial alloy makes environmental and economic sense. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“We’re certainly not the only manufacturer to use aluminum in building engine blocks,” said Scott Louks, Mercury sustainability manager, in a press release from the marine engine and accessories giant. “But as this award attests, Mercury does stand out in how we strive to be environmentally responsible and derive the maximum sustainable benefit from our use of this material.”
According to the release, Mercury Marine uses only recycled sources of aluminum instead of “prime aluminum” derived from mined bauxite ore. Discarded vehicle wheels, wiring, and scrap from Brunswick Boat Group operations, as well as additional suppliers, are melted and purified for use in Mercury’s castings.
“Because its atomic structure is not altered during melting, aluminum can be recycled again and again without degradation of its inherent properties,” Louks said. “The exclusive use of recycled aluminum avoids the adverse environmental effects of bauxite‑ore mining for Mercury’s aluminum needs.”
The energy required to melt aluminum scrap is approximately only 5 percent of that required to create primary aluminum from bauxite ore, per the release. Recycling aluminum emits only 5 percent of the greenhouse gasses emitted in primary aluminum production.