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Mercury Marine a leader in recycling aluminum

July 18, 2019
Fond du Lac, Wisc. - Mercury Marine's outboard engines are made from aluminum-alloy engine blocks that Mercury produces in its Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, foundry and die-casting plant. The company has earned numerous awards for the ingenuity behind its patented alloys and the expertise with which it die-casts the molten metal into complex engine-block designs. Mercury aims these sophisticated engineering efforts at producing outboard engines that provide a superior boater experience - engines that are the lightest in their class while delivering exemplary power, performance and durability.

While exceeding the boating consumer's expectations is job one, Mercury has committed to achieving this while also protecting the environment. That's why Mercury makes the most of the virtually endless recyclability of aluminum. For nearly a decade, the company has used only recycled sources of aluminum instead of prime aluminum. Discarded vehicle wheels, wiring, and scrap from Brunswick Boat Group operations are melted and purified for use in Mercury's castings.

"Aluminum supports the popular notion of a 'circular economy' in manufacturing, as scrap is reintroduced into the production cycle," said Scott Louks, Mercury sustainability manager. "Because its atomic structure is not altered during melting, aluminum can be recycled again and again without degradation of its inherent properties," he said. After melting and purifying the recycled aluminum, Mercury reintroduces other elements to form its patented alloys.

Using recycled aluminum not only spares the environment from the mining of bauxite ore from which aluminum is derived, but also saves energy. The energy required to melt aluminum scrap is approximately only five percent of that required to create primary aluminum from bauxite ore.

Emissions are saved, as well. Recycling of aluminum products emits only five percent of the greenhouse gas emitted in primary aluminum production.

Furthermore, Mercury uses an innovative technique to use less energy in the melting of recycled aluminum. The company redirects heat exhaust generated from melting aluminum through a stack heating device that preheats solid aluminum scrap that is waiting its turn to be melted in the furnace. 

This preheating process saves Mercury 20 percent of the natural gas it would otherwise use to melt scrap aluminum. This equates to approximately nine billion BTUs of energy saved each year. For context, that's the energy represented by nearly 73,000 gallons of gasoline.

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