Apple Begins Buying Aluminum Made With Carbon-Free Process, Plans to Use in Select Products

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,991
11,262



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 by Apple 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.

Article Link: Apple Begins Buying Aluminum Made With Carbon-Free Process, Plans to Use in Select Products
 

rjohnstone

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2007
3,620
3,758
PHX, AZ.
Very cool. And it’s smelted in the USA, nice.
While I'm sure Alcoa will produce some here in the U.S., the joint venture will have production in Canada.

"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."
 

insoft.uk

macrumors member
Mar 15, 2018
64
20
They is no such thing as carbon free, they will allways be some form of energy requirements that has a carbon footprint what you can go is reduce it as much as possible and that’s what Apple is doing and it’s good it’s the way forward reduce it as much as possible but you will never be able to eliminate it and these daft claims carbon free is just BS PR
 

Rudy69

macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2009
672
1,061
They is no such thing as carbon free, they will allways be some form of energy requirements that has a carbon footprint what you can go is reduce it as much as possible and that’s what Apple is doing and it’s good it’s the way forward reduce it as much as possible but you will never be able to eliminate it and these daft claims carbon free is just BS PR
While not 100% carbon free, the plant in Saguenay is most likely 100% powered by hydro electricity. Yes of course I'm sure the product will be moved by trucks using regular diesel etc etc But diminishing the environmental impact of making the product is good regardless.
 

meaning-matters

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2013
506
2,062
Bloody CO2 lies! Companies better invest in reduction of pollution (that goes much further than removing a few chemicals from product materials).
 
  • Angry
Reactions: purplehaze0

Anarchy99

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2003
984
993
CA
They is no such thing as carbon free, they will allways be some form of energy requirements that has a carbon footprint what you can go is reduce it as much as possible and that’s what Apple is doing and it’s good it’s the way forward reduce it as much as possible but you will never be able to eliminate it and these daft claims carbon free is just BS PR
It is largely B.S PR
the TLDR: is are there using cryolite or some proprietary derivative, it's used as an solvent for aluminum oxide and allows for smelting at a lower temperature ( thus you need to put less energy in to smelt = technically more green) it also gives off oxygen as a byproduct rather than other emissions, so for virtue signalling it seems more green that way.

Apple will then argue because they're purchasing carbon credits so the energy they do use from the smelting is green already, let's not forget the vast majority of all aluminum used today is already from recycled sources, it's one of the easiest metals the smelt, it's most hobbyists learn with because of that.

I'm more annoyed that Canadian company like Elysis That received Canadian government subsidies to create this aluminum used those to open up Pittsburgh plant and is now selling to Apple so indirectly my tax dollars went to benefit the American economy rather than the Canadian one presumably to avoid higher tariff etc. either way it doesn't benefit me or my country but that's neither here nor there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Breezygirl

coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,738
4,919
Vancouver, BC
Bloody CO2 lies! Companies better invest in reduction of pollution (that goes much further than removing a few chemicals from product materials).
Oh gee, someone didn't sleep well? All efforts to restore and protect the environment are necessary. In a very short time, human impact has become nearly irreversible!
- - Post merged: - -

It is largely B.S PR
the TLDR: is are there using cryolite or some proprietary derivative, it's used as an solvent for aluminum oxide and allows for smelting at a lower temperature ( thus you need to put less energy in to smelt = technically more green) it also gives off oxygen as a byproduct rather than other emissions, so for virtue signalling it seems more green that way.

Apple will then argue because they're purchasing carbon credits so the energy they do use from the smelting is green already, let's not forget the vast majority of all aluminum used today is already from recycled sources, it's one of the easiest metals the smelt, it's most hobbyists learn with because of that.

I'm more annoyed that Canadian company like Elysis That received Canadian government subsidies to create this aluminum used those to open up Pittsburgh plant and is now selling to Apple so indirectly my tax dollars went to benefit the American economy rather than the Canadian one presumably to avoid higher tariff etc. either way it doesn't benefit me or my country but that's neither here nor there.
A $50M facility is being constructed in Quebec. That surely has long term benefits for the Canadian economy.
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 65816
Feb 23, 2010
1,487
235
Lagrange Point
Bloody CO2 lies! Companies better invest in reduction of pollution (that goes much further than removing a few chemicals from product materials).
CO2 and methane are the greatest threats to the environment in human history. While methane does far more damage, it naturally oxidizes out and has a much shorter half life.
- - Post merged: - -

It is largely B.S PR
the TLDR: is are there using cryolite or some proprietary derivative, it's used as an solvent for aluminum oxide and allows for smelting at a lower temperature ( thus you need to put less energy in to smelt = technically more green) it also gives off oxygen as a byproduct rather than other emissions, so for virtue signalling it seems more green that way.

Apple will then argue because they're purchasing carbon credits so the energy they do use from the smelting is green already, let's not forget the vast majority of all aluminum used today is already from recycled sources, it's one of the easiest metals the smelt, it's most hobbyists learn with because of that.

I'm more annoyed that Canadian company like Elysis That received Canadian government subsidies to create this aluminum used those to open up Pittsburgh plant and is now selling to Apple so indirectly my tax dollars went to benefit the American economy rather than the Canadian one presumably to avoid higher tariff etc. either way it doesn't benefit me or my country but that's neither here nor there.
Apple is increasing their footprint in Canada. Give it a bit of time and Apple world headquarters may be near Vancouver.
 

Vjosullivan

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
979
1,140
Aluminium smelting has always used lots of electricity and the majority of it has always been done close to sites of lots of cheap electricity such as nuclear, geothermal and hydroelectric power stations. Production using coal fired power only happens if none of the above are available because it is generally less economic.

Apple has probably always used "carbon free" aluminium since most aluminium has always been made that way.

Welcome as the move is; this is economics being marketed as environmentalism.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gridlocked

DailySlow

macrumors regular
Aug 5, 2015
178
84
Northern Virginia
While I'm sure Alcoa will produce some here in the U.S., the joint venture will have production in Canada.

"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."
$50M CDN = about $37.5M US. And Quebec has the hydropower capacity that helps make the HEAVY RESEARCH PRODUCTION LEVEL (as opposed to purely experimental level) process “green” and “carbon neutral” Rio Tinto mines are all over and can market it globally. This is a little murky, of course, but at least it’s sort of carbon neutral murky.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RalfTheDog

Good User Name

macrumors regular
Jul 7, 2011
221
132
They is no such thing as carbon free, they will allways be some form of energy requirements that has a carbon footprint…
What makes you say that? That’s like saying there will always be vacuum tubes in computing. In reality old technology will get phased out and replaced with new and better technology in time.

The virtuous cycle here is that more renewable energy will be made available and work will be done with that energy including the work of making new renewable energy devices. After that the loop is closed and then old expensive dirty things are no more.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RalfTheDog
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.