Apple uses aluminium housing for many of its electronics including iPhones, watches and Mac computers such as the new Mac Pro  © AFP/Getty Images
Apple uses aluminium housing for many of its electronics including iPhones, watches and Mac computers such as the new Mac Pro © AFP/Getty Images

Apple buys first batch of carbon-free aluminium

Apple has bought its first “commercial batch” of aluminium which has been produced without any direct carbon dioxide emissions.

The aluminium has been made by Elysis, a joint venture (JV) between aluminium producers Rio Tinto and Alcoa, which was facilitated by Apple last year. 

The JV received a total of C$188m in funding from the two firms, Apple, and the governments of Quebec and Canada.

Elysis uses carbon-free aluminium smelting to eliminate all direct greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from the process, producing pure oxygen instead. The technology could reduce the environmental footprint of the aluminium industry on a global scale, the firm said. 

According to the Carbon Trust, the traditional energy-intensive process of producing aluminium is responsible for 1% of global GHGs. 

Vincent Christ, CEO of Elysis, said: “This sale is an important milestone for Elysis and a sign of our progress over our first year of operation. 

“It confirms the market interest in aluminium produced using carbon-free smelting technology. We are continuing to progress further development of our technology, with our focus on bringing it to market to revolutionise the industry.”

The aluminium will be shipped to Apple from an Alcoa research facility in Pittsburgh, according to Reuters. Apple and Elysis did not disclose which products the aluminium would be used for or the size and cost of the order. 

The tech giant uses aluminium to house many of its electronics including iPhones, watches and Mac computers.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, told Reuters: “For more than 130 years, aluminium – a material common to so many products consumers use daily – has been produced the same way. That’s about to change.”

Last year, Apple announced its Macbook Air and Mac Minis would be built with a 100% recycled aluminium case, which it claimed would reduce the two products’ overall carbon footprints by nearly 50%.

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