Apple has bought its first ever commercial batch of carbon-free aluminum for use in its products.
It’s the result of a $144 million collaboration between Apple, the governments of Canada and Quebec, and Alcoa Corp and Rio Tinto, two of the world’s biggest aluminum suppliers. Elysis is the name of the new venture. Hopefully its products will be coming soon to an Apple device near you.
Carbon-free aluminum is a big achievement for Apple, which has worked to make its supply chain more environmentally friendly. Apple has pushed to eliminate the use of conflict minerals in its products and embraced renewable energy. Last year, it introduced Mac models made using recycled aluminum. During his time as Apple CEO, Tim Cook has continually pushed the idea that Apple has a social responsibility to act as a “force for good” in the world.
Aluminum has long been a favored material of Apple’s industrial designers. Unfortunately, it is extremely carbon-intensive to produce. This comes from the smelting process, which releases large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon-free aluminum would be a massive step in the right direction.
“We are proud to be part of this ambitious new project,” Tim Cook said last year. “[We] look forward to one day being able to use aluminum produced without direct greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing of our products.”
The first batch was produced in Pittsburgh, but future batches will be created at a facility in Quebec. This will open in the second half of 2020.
Apple and Elysis haven’t revealed the size of the first order of carbon-free aluminum.