Aluminium has been produced the same way since 1886, when it was pioneered by Alcoa's founder, Charles Hall.
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Canada and Quebec are each contributing $60 million, with the technology having the potential to eliminate the equivalent of 6.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions if fully implemented at existing aluminium smelters in the country - roughly equivalent to taking almost 1.8 million light-duty vehicles off the road.
Alcoa and Rio will invest a combined C$55M in the JV over the next three years, the Canadian and Quebec government will invest a combined C$120M; the provincial government will own a 3.5% equity stake.
The new company, Elysis, will receive funding totaling Canadian $188 million ($146 million) and will be headquartered in Montreal with a research facility in Quebec's Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.
CEO Roy Harvey said the technology took aluminium's sustainable advantage to a new level.
Elysis will also have US investments, including funding to support a supply chain for the advanced conductive materials used to smelt the aluminum.
"Apple is committed to advancing technologies that are good for the planet and help protect it for generations to come".
The development might also keep aluminum protected against a shift in how regulators worldwide crack down on greenhouse gases - thereby keeping the metal appearing in large quantities in auto body shops. The goal is eventual large-scale production and commercialization of the process so the lightweight metal, which is used as an alloy in the cases that enclose many Apple devices, can be made without releasing any direct greenhouse gases.
Rio Tinto, meanwhile, is the world's leading smelting technology development organization, with its AP technology a world leader.
Vincent Christ, an experienced leader with more than 30 years' experience at Rio Tinto Aluminium, has been named Chief Executive Officer of Elysis.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto announced in a press release that they have a formed a joint venture to develop a new way to make aluminum that produces oxygen and eliminates all direct greenhouse gas emissions.
The new technology is expected to be ready for licensing to retrofit smelters or build new facilities by 2024.
Apple uses a lot of aluminum in its products. According to a 2015 Greenhouse Gas Report from the Washington state Department of Ecology, the Ferndale facility emitted almost 1.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent that year.
The development announced Thursday seems as though it'd help aluminum keep aluminum in the running as a substrate if lawmakers followed the steel industry's advice and regulated the long game.
According to the joint venture, if Canadian smelters adopt the technology its carbon benefits would equate to taking 1.8 million cars off the road.