PERTH (miningweekly.com) – An aluminium joint venture (JV) between majors Rio Tinto and Alcoa has flagged a site for a new research and development facility in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region in Québec.
The Elysis JV is working to commercialise a breakthrough technology that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional aluminium smelting process, instead producing pure oxygen.
Rio said this week that the partners hoped to have the process in place by 2024.
Elysis' process has the potential to reduce the environmental footprint of the aluminium industry on a global scale and will reduce operating costs of aluminium smelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
In Canada alone, the Elysis technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by seven-million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8-million cars from the roads.
Elysis will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.
“This new technology can play an important role in helping to address the climate change challenge by delivering carbon free aluminium smelting. We are proud to be part of this pioneering project that could create significant value and allow customers to meet the growing consumer demand for responsible products,” Rio’s aluminium CEO Alf Barrios said.
The new Elysis research and development center will be located at Rio Tinto's Complexe Jonquière, the site of the Arvida smelter, Vaudreuil refinery and Arvida Research and Development Centre. It is expected to be fully operational in the second half of 2020.