Apple Paves Way Towards Carbon-Free Aluminum Smelting Process as Latest Environmental Pledge

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 10, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The aluminum used in Apple products ranging from iPhones to MacBooks could be more sustainably manufactured in as early as six years.

    The first aluminum manufactured with the new process

    Apple today announced it has 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 have formed a joint venture called Elysis, which will work to develop the patented technology further.

    Alcoa and Rio Tinto aim to achieve larger-scale production and commercialization of the process, with plans to license the technologies 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.

    Instead of carbon dioxide, the new process releases oxygen, per Apple's press release:
    Alcoa said it has been producing aluminum at its facility near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 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.

    In Canada, for example, Alcoa and Rio Tinto said the new process could eliminate the equivalent of 6.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, if fully implemented at existing smelters in the country. That is supposedly roughly equal to taking nearly 1.8 million light-duty vehicles off the road.

    Apple said its involvement started in 2015, when three of its engineers went in search of a better way of mass producing aluminum. Apple ultimately helped bring Alcoa and Rio Tinto together, and has now pledged an investment of $13 million CAD to the joint venture, along with continued technical support.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook:
    Elysis will be headquartered in Montréal, Québec, with the Governments of Canada and Québec each investing $60 million CAD. Alcoa and Rio Tinto will invest $55 million CAD cash over the next three years.

    Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and Premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard, were on hand for today's announcement.

    Trudeau's statement:
    Today's news follows Apple's announcement last month that all of its facilities are now powered with 100 percent clean energy and 23 of its suppliers have committed to do the same. Apple also introduced Daisy, a robot that can more efficiently disassemble iPhones to recover valuable parts for recycling.

    This initiative is a testament to Apple's commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its products through continued innovation.

    Article Link: Apple Paves Way Towards Carbon-Free Aluminum Smelting Process as Latest Environmental Pledge
  2. twistedpixel8 macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2017
  3. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2017
    I'm glad aluminium cases are not going away soon!
  4. AngerDanger macrumors 68040


    Dec 9, 2008
    Yeah, sure, but there are other ways in which Apple isn't environmentally conscientious, so who cares? When it comes to sustainable business practices, it has to be all or nothing!

  5. Anarchy99 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2003
    Me too , For some reason I always think of chocolate even though it has zero to do with smelting.
    It's probably because it has smell and melting in the name

    Honestly though if Apple really cared about the environment and sustainability they would be pro right to repair instead of user hostile.

    Much better for me to either replace a capacitor or whatever part/component (or pay someone to do so if I can't ( because Apple geniuses won't)
    than replace an entire top case or bottom case etc.

    Not that I'm saying this news isn't important, it just feels like reporting on it and stories like it is just glorifying Apple and sidestepping the real issues.
  6. oldhifi macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2013
  7. twistedpixel8 macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2017
    Totally agree. I'd happily take an extra 2 or 3mm thickness on a phone if I could just repair the thing without needing tools designed for Smurfs because everything is wafer thin, crammed-in and prone to breaking from just looking at it.
  8. JosephAW macrumors 68000


    May 14, 2012
    There would be a better environmental benefit moving away from batteries and towards fuel cell energy.
  9. rcread macrumors member


    Jan 10, 2006
    Kenmore, WA
    I've been waiting to weigh in on carbon-free aluminum smelting.

    I'm kidding. I don't know a thing about smelting.
  10. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    lol so big hefty phones ? Didn't we just away from that? The only one still like that is the iPhone SE, and who knows, with Apple updating it, THAT could even be changing.
  11. Mitochris macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2011
    Well, what it allows you to do is point the fingers at those that do not do it. Once this is in place, other companies can’t argue that it can’t be done. It increases pressure.
  12. tipoo macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2017
    Life on the coastlines, what a gimmick eh?
  13. apb87 macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2010
    Super exciting news. They could also, you know, stop gluing components together, requiring users to buy new devices every two years since they aren't upgradable.
  14. kironin macrumors 6502a


    May 4, 2004
    Great but even if you completely converted all primary Aluminum production to this process, that would only reduce the current annual human production of CO2 by about 0.25% !
    (24 million tons CO2)
    Total world human production of CO2 annually is about 10 billion tons.

    Fossil Fuel & Cement accounts for 90% or so of the total.
    The variation in this number from year to year is greater than the total from aluminum production.

    From another source, has the cement manufacturing CO2 production at 5% of the total. I've seen various proposals about making cement carbon neutral, that would have a much bigger impact.

    Of course, even a slight drop in CO2 production from fossil fuel would also have a bigger impact.

    So this news story is mainly feel good and little else.
  15. wlossw macrumors 65816


    May 9, 2012
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Because it makes you think of the possibility of hiding small fish in and around someone’s area and the resulting hilarious hijynx.
  16. Arty6 macrumors member

    Apr 5, 2016
    There are probably like 4 nerds that would want to buy an upgradeable phone and it's a far stretch to say that users are required to buy new devices every two years.
  17. Sasparilla, May 10, 2018
    Last edited: May 10, 2018

    Sasparilla macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2012
    Nice to see Apple helping make this happen. I love that they do this stuff proactively, nobody else in the hardware tech industry would even think of doing such a thing.
  18. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2005
    What an awful take.
  19. Anarchy99 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2003
    You're acting like we had a choice and chose to get away from hefty phones, Or For that matter a wanted to in the 1st place.

    I bet if you ask the average North American Apple user
    Would they take a slightly thicker phone that could be cheaply repaired or the one where any repair would cost half if not more the cost of an entire device

    Most would choose the former.

    In fact if you asked if they wanted more ports or less ports only an idiot would choose getting less for the same amount of dollars.
    And many may even say please double the thickness if it means double the battery "because I want all Day battery life regardless of my usage"

    Instead Apple redefined all day to mean 10 hours to give the perception of value instead of what people actually want.
  20. sunapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 16, 2013
    The Netherlands
    If every company would go to such lengths to decrease their CO2 production, that would have a great impact. Apple is leading the change, they don’t pretend to resolve the whole problem.
  21. Millah macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2008
    How is that more pro environment? Yea, the argument is for device longevity. But if Apple forces repairs to go through their stores or authorized repair centers, then they have control over the recycling process. If they replace an entire top case, well guess what? Apple knows what happens with the defective part, since they control that process. It goes through Apples recycling program, and precious resources get extracted with their fancy robots.

    Open that up to non-authorized third parties or individual users, and Apple no longer controls the recycling process. A user may replace the battery and toss it in the trash, while Apple extracts lithium from dead batteries.

    So conversely, I would argue Apples approach does support a pro-environment stance.
  22. H3LL5P4WN macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2010
    Pittsburgh PA

    Mmmmnah. I'll take my water resistant, magically thin device that lasts all day even with my usage over some clunky brick that will short circuit if I sneeze on it.
  23. baine macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2017
    You gotta start somewhere
  24. Atearen macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2018
    That's the job of any PR, tell everyone and their dog about your specific environmental friendly action, but only to quietly distract from your big cost-saving electronics disposal
  25. PeterL111 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2015
    Good, but I think I can contribute more to the environment by not buying an iPhone every year. My bank account will thanks me too.

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