Rio Tinto to demonstrate Alcoa technology

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Rio Tinto, a British mining company, plans to use Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Corporation’s ELYSIS technology in an industrial-scale demonstration project in Quebec.

The demonstration includes 10 ELYSIS smelting pots operating at 100 kiloamperes, a size similar to smaller-scale commercial smelters. Alcoa will manufacture, install and operate for the demonstration ELYSIS anodes and cathodes.

Alcoa will apply what it learns from the demonstration to future phases in ELYSIS’s development.

“Since inventing the aluminum smelting process in 1886, which is still in use today, Alcoa has continued to create transformational technologies to improve our industry,” William Oplinger, Alcoa president and CEO, said. “We are proud to progress the technology initially developed at our technical center to its next phase within the ELYSIS partnership. Aluminum plays a critical role in the world’s energy transition and decarbonization efforts; with the ELYSIS technology, the smelting of this important metal can also be done without direct carbon emissions.”

ELYSIS is a technology partnership between Alcoa and Rio Tinto. Metal produced through the ELYSIS process eliminates all greenhouse emissions compared to the traditional smelting process, and produces oxygen as a byproduct.

ELYSIS is early in the technology development cycle. The company’s goal is begin production by 2027.