In May 2018, Apple announced that it had helped facilitate a collaboration between two of the world’s largest aluminum producers, Alcoa and Rio Tinto, on a new carbon-free aluminum smelting process. Together, the companies formed a joint venture called Elysis, working to develop the patented technology further.
Today, Apple said it has now bought the first-ever commercial batch of carbon-free aluminum from Elysis, according to Reuters. The aluminum will be shipped from a Pittsburgh facility and used in unspecified Apple products. iPhones, iPads, Macs, and many other Apple products use aluminum.
“For more than 130 years, aluminum – a material common to so many products consumers use daily – has been produced the same way. That’s about to change,” said Apple’s environmental chief Lisa Jackson.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto aim to commercialize and license the carbon-free smelting process beginning in 2024. If fully developed and implemented, it will eliminate direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional aluminum smelting process developed over 130 years ago, according to Apple.
Alcoa said it has been producing aluminum at its facility near Pittsburgh with the new process, to varying degrees, since 2009. The process resulted from decades of research and is described as the most significant innovation in the aluminum industry in more than a century.
Elysis also plans to manufacture the carbon-free aluminum at a CA$50 million research facility under construction in Saguenay, Quebec, which is slated to open in the second half of 2020, according to the report.