Rio Tinto has announced a process to make aluminium they say produces oxygen and eliminates all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process.
As part of a partnership with Alcoa, the company has announced the formation of a joint venture company, Elysis, to further develop the process and to advance larger scale development and commercialisation of the process.
According to a CNET report, the new technology will lower the operating costs of the process by 15% and increase production by 15%.
Elysis expects to offer the technology for sale by 2024.
The companies claim that the process represents the most significant innovation in the aluminium industry in more than a century.
Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques said the process was crucial in reducing carbon emissions from the smelting process.
“This is a revolutionary smelting process that can deliver a significant reduction in carbon emissions.
“It builds on the key role aluminium has to play in driving human progress, by making products infinitely recyclable, stronger, lighter and more fuel efficient.”
The joint venture will be based in Quebec, Canada with the company predicting that it could eliminate the equivalent of 6.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
That represents an amount roughly equal to taking nearly 1.8 million light-duty vehicles off the road.