Apple To Use Carbon-Free Aluminum For Upcoming Products


Apple is attempting to do its bit to help conserve the planet. The iPhone maker has bought its first commercial batch of carbon-free aluminum. The supplies come from a joint venture between two of the world's biggest aluminum suppliers - Elysis. Apple will be using the carbon-free aluminum for its products, but we still don't know which ones.

Apple To Use Carbon-Free Aluminum For Upcoming Products


Carbon-Free Aluminum In Apple Products

Aluminum is an important component for most of the tech gadgets manufactured. However, the metal is carbon-intensive to produce. The smelting process in aluminum production involves passing an electrical current through a large block of carbon called an anode. The carbon anode burns off during the process and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Activists, consumers, and investors have been demanding an alternate method for aluminum production to reduce the impact on climate change. Apple is now going to be the first tech company to invest and implement the carbon-free aluminum for its products. Apple will receive its first batch of the metal from an Alcoa research facility in Pittsburgh this month.

Apple uses aluminum in many of its electronic gadgets including iPhones, Apple Watches, and Mac computers. For the first time, Apple used recycled aluminum for Mac models last year. However, we still don't know which of Apple products would get the carbon-free aluminum. Moreover, neither of the companies has disclosed the cost of production nor have they disclosed the size-amount of the first batch.

Carbon-Free Aluminum Production

As mentioned, the metal is being created by Elysis, a Montreal-based joint venture of Alcoa Corp and Rio Tinto. The Apple carbon-free aluminum was announced in 2018 with a funding of roughly Rs. 1,027 crores from the joint ventures, Apple, and the governments of Canada and Quebec. The joint venture companies want to commercialize their technology by 2024 using a ceramic anode to make aluminum, which produces oxygen as a side product.


Elysis says that the current smelting facilities can be retrofitted to use the new technology. The company plans to license the technology to revamp the carbon-free aluminum production. For now, we know that the first batch of Apple carbon-free aluminum was produced in Pittsburgh, but Elysis is planning to push it to a higher scale at the CAD research facility being built in Saguenay, Quebec.

The ambitious project is expected to come online in the second half of 2020 and is estimated to cost approximately Rs. 356.7 crores. Speaking of costs, Elysis has also noted that using carbon-free aluminum is expected to lower operating costs than the traditional method of aluminum smelting.

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