ELYSIS – The World’s First Carbon-Free Smelting Technology

On May 10, 2018, Alcoa announced a joint venture with Rio Tinto called ELYSIS to scale up and commercialize a revolutionary smelting technology innovation by Alcoa that emits oxygen and eliminates greenhouse gases. Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec are investors. Quebec also holds a small equity in the venture. It is the most significant innovation in the aluminum industry in more than a century.

A slide showing that the Conventional Smelting Technology uses a carbon anode, producing CO2. With the more productive, lower costing, and greener Inert Anode Smelting Technology which uses an inert anode, the resulting emission is pure oxygen.

The patent-protected process is currently producing metal at the Alcoa Technical Center, and has been operating at different scales since 2009.

ELYSIS technology package planned for sale in 2024

Quick Facts

  • The name ELYSIS refers to the process at the center of aluminum smelting, the electrolysis of alumina.
  • ELYSIS will employ 100 people, including research and development, management and sales.
  • At a facility in Québec, employees will work on the commercialization of the world's first zero-carbon aluminum smelting technology.
  • The technology could eliminate 6.5 million metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions, if fully implemented at existing aluminum smelters in Canada, an amount equal to taking nearly 1.8 million light-duty vehicles off the road.