Apple buys first-ever carbon-free aluminum from Alcoa-Rio Tinto venture

“Apple Inc on Thursday said it has bought the first-ever commercial batch of carbon-free aluminum from a joint venture between two of the world’s biggest aluminum suppliers,” Stephen Nellis reports for Reuters:

The metal is being made by Elysis, a Montreal-based joint venture of Alcoa Corp and Rio Tinto announced last year with $144 million in funding from the two companies, Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec.

The aluminum will be shipped this month from an Alcoa research facility in Pittsburgh and used in Apple products, although the technology company did not say which ones… Apple uses aluminum housings for many of its electronics, including iPhones, Apple Watches and Mac computers. Apple last year introduced Mac models that use recycled aluminum.

The Alcoa-Rio joint venture wants to commercialize a technology by 2024 that uses a ceramic anode to make aluminum and emits only oxygen, eliminating direct greenhouse gas emissions from the smelting process.

Apple and Elysis would not disclose the size or cost of the first purchase. They described it as a “commercial batch,” and Elysis said the process is expected to have lower operating costs than traditional aluminum smelting.

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats to all involved in this project/partnership!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. An exciting initiative! Though it seems to be that ‘carbon-free smelting’ is not quite the same thing as ‘carbon free aluminum’ as there likely is plenty of carbon released into the atmosphere in the process of extracting and processing ore (or processing recyclable metal), transporting materials to manufacturing and to market, etc. Even the workers who staff the plants likely drive to work in gasoline-burning vehicles. Lots of carbon is still expended in the process.

          1. My point was that carbon, like water, is great in moderation, but a disaster in excess. The two aren’t unrelated, since excess carbon drives higher sea levels.

            From the Wunderground Category Six website:

            “ For the year to date through 8 am EST Wednesday morning, November 20, McNoldy found that Virginia Key (on Biscayne Bay near downtown Miami) has seen 2262 hours in which water levels were above mean higher high water, or MHHW (that’s the average daily high tide as calculated for the period 1983–2001). In other words, the water has been above the level one might see for a brief time each day almost a third of all the hours in this entire year (or 29% of the 7780 hours from January 1 through 8 am Wednesday).”

            1. Barack Obama just paid $18 million for a beachfront estate on Martha’s Vineyard. He is betting you are full of nonsense and his property will be fine. Of course, being a lifetime public servant living on government wages he has just a bit of money for such summer homes. He makes money on the side by telling tall tales about global warming while he buys the most expensive beach front property he can find. He thinks the idea of “too much water” in Martha’s Vineyard is real funny.

  2. Of course, a socially responsible company could also buy aluminum produced by TVA or Washington hydropower which has been available for 50 years, or plastic which is less energy intensive, less machine waste, recyclable and is essentially a carbon sink. But as long as Tim keeps touting ‘bromine free monitors’ it’s ok with me that he wastes renewable power on meaningless projects that make him feel virtuous.

    1. “he wastes renewable power” that is a contradiction in itself. ALL renewable power has ALWAYS been wasted and 99.9999% wil continue to be “wasted”, except we use it – for whatever purpose, and be it the most “wasteful” in your traditional way of thinking. Renewable power is abundant and we are entitled to waste it for whatever we like.

    1. Dumbass. Once upon a time the oil industry was hiding data that lead in fuels was dangerous to humans. They also claimed that lead free gas was not feasible. We all know that both were true and the greed of the industry lead to significant increases in human agreesion and violence in the 70’s.
      Here we have an industry that collectively has found an apparently cheaper method for making aluminum that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and all you can do is make inane comments about their efforts.
      Companies like Apple are using their profits to encourage new paradigms for doing business that can help reduce global warming. It will be the collective efforts of many like this to demonstrate that companies can be successful and still be environmentally friendly. At this stage every advancement is critical to reducing the rise in global CO2 since we are seriously running out of time.

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