MONTREAL (QC), Canada – Carbon free aluminium smelting for products ranging from smart phones to cars and drink cans is a step closer with ELYSIS successfully producing aluminium without any direct greenhouse emissions at its Industrial Research and Development Center in Saguenay (QC), Canada.
The production of aluminium at the ELYSIS Industrial Research and Development Center marks the achievement of a significant milestone, using a full industrial design at a size comparable to small smelting cells operating in the industry today.
COMMERCIAL DEMONSTRATION IN 2023
Work is now focused on accelerating the scale-up of the ELYSISTM technology towards the demonstration of even larger commercial-size cells in 2023.
Construction of these prototype cells is now well underway at the end of an existing potline at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter. The smelting cells will operate on an electrical current of 450 kA, which is the commercial scale for many large, modern aluminium smelters. The industrial cells are designed to be used as a ‘drop-in’ replacement to retrofit existing smelters or build new ones and can be scalable to sizes as needed.
With the current development pathway, ELYSIS aims to have its technology available for installation from 2024 and the production of larger volumes of carbon-free aluminium approximately two years later.
SCALING UP SUPPLY CHAIN IN 2022
ELYSIS is beginning detailed planning to scale-up the supply chain for the technology’s upcoming commercialization. In 2022, ELYSIS will commence the design and engineering for a facility that can produce the breakthrough, proprietary materials fundamental to its inert anode, zero-carbon smelting process.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto launched the ELYSIS joint venture in 2018. The inert anode technology now being scaled-up by ELYSIS builds on a process first developed at the Alcoa Technical Center outside of Pittsburgh. The ELYSIS carbon-free smelting technology, which emits oxygen, also incorporates the latest in next-generation smelting cell design from Rio Tinto. The combination of these two innovations has led ELYSIS to develop an industrial breakthrough technology enabling sustainability and performance.
Aluminium produced during the ELYSIS research and development stage has already been used by Apple, a non-equity investor in the technology, ABInBev for Michelob Ultra cans and Audi for the wheels on its eTron GT.
ELYSIS is a technology company that was created thanks to a ground-breaking partnership between two global industry leaders – Alcoa and Rio Tinto. ELYSIS’ goal is to revolutionize the way aluminium is produced across the globe. Our process eliminates all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting, and instead produces oxygen. Alcoa, Rio Tinto, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec provided a combined investment of $228 million (CAD) to create ELYSIS and to see this technology reach commercial maturity.