Sat, May 12, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Canada and Apple back carbon-free smelting tech


Canada and Quebec province, as well as tech giant Apple Inc, on Thursday announced their backing of aluminum producers Alcoa and Rio Tinto Ltd’s joint venture to develop a carbon-free smelting process.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement with executives of the three companies on hand.

Apple is to invest C$13 million (US$10.19 million) in the joint venture and provide technical support.

Rio and Alcoa are to invest C$55 million, while the Canadian and Quebec governments are to invest C$60 million each in a first round of financing.

The technology promises to be “the most significant innovation in the aluminum industry in more than a century, and marks a decisive step forward in the fight against climate change,” a statement said. “Once fully developed and implemented, the ground-breaking technology will virtually eliminate the Canadian aluminum industry’s carbon footprint.”

Aluminum is used in everything from cars and planes, soft-drink cans, foil and window frames, as well as in Apple smartphones, tablets and computers.

The sector employs 10,500 people in Canada.

Alcoa is the largest aluminum producer in the US and Rio Tinto is the world’s second-largest miner.

Their joint venture is to be named Elysis and headed by Rio executive Vincent Christ. It is to be based in Montreal, with a research facility in Quebec’s Saguenay region.

The new technology is expected to be ready for licensing to retrofit smelters or build new facilities by 2024.

According to Ottawa, it has the potential to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by anout 6.5 million metric tonnes in Canada — the equivalent of taking 1.8 million cars off the road.

“We are proud to be part of this ambitious new project, and look forward to one day being able to use aluminum produced without direct greenhouse-gas emissions in the manufacturing of our products,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in the statement.

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