Apple purchases their first batch of carbon-free aluminum, which could greatly lessen the environmental damage caused by manufacturing Apple products.
The metal, created by Montreal-based Elysis, is produced in such a way that it lessens the environmental impact of smelting aluminum.
Elysis is a joint venture o falcon Corp and Rio Tinto and was announced in 2018. Elysis received $144 million in funding from the two companies, Apple, and Canadian and Quebecois governments.
Traditionally, aluminum is extremely carbon intensive to produce, and involves passing an electrical current through a carbon anode. The carbon is burnt off during the process and then released into the atmosphere. The process has been linked to air pollution, climate change, and global CO2 increases.
The new process, which Elysis wants to commercialize by 2024, uses a ceramic anode. When electrified, the anode emits only oxygen as a waste product. This eliminates direct greenhouse gas emissions and carbon particulate matter from the smelting process.
If utilized, the carbon-free aluminum will help to lessen the environmental impact of producing consumer electronics and goods. For companies like Apple, roughly 70% of their carbon footprint tends to be in the supply-chain.
Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President of environment, policy, and social initiatives spoke positively of the process.
"For more than 130 years, aluminum - a material common to so many products consumers use daily - has been produced the same way," said Jackson. "That's about to change."
The first batch of carbon-free aluminum has been made in a facility outside of Pittsburgh. Elysis is currently planning to manufacture it at a $50 million CAD facility being built in Quebec. The facility is expected to be finished in the second half of 2020.
Apple and Elysis would not disclose the size or cost of the first purchase, according to according to Reuters. It has been described as a "commercial batch," and the process is expected to be less expensive than traditional aluminum smelting.