Apple this week announced its investment of $10 million in a Canadian-based venture which aims to become the world’s first carbon- and greenhouse gas-free commercial aluminum production process — although, for its money, the Cupertino tech-giant won’t actually hold a vested interest in the firm behind it.
Dubbed ‘Elysis’, the project is a joint venture headed by aluminum manufacturing giants Alcoa and Rio Tinto. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, the joint venture is being funded almost entirely by the Canadian and Quebec governments, who have reportedly invested $47 million apiece to get the project off the ground.
According to Apple’s announcement, the goal of the project is to ultimately “commercialize patented technology that eliminates direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process, a key step in aluminum production” and to create an efficient process by which carbon- and greenhouse gas-free aluminum can be used to manufacture consumer goods.
While Apple, in addition to its 13 million CAD ($10 million) cash infusion, will provide the firm with “technical support” throughout the project’s duration — with sights set on one day utilizing the byproducts of the process to manufacture its own products — the company will not be given any share in the firm.
The Quebec government, meanwhile, will own 4 percent in the firm, with Alcoa and Rio Tinto (who will also invest an additional $43 million over the next three-years) evenly splitting the remaining 96 percent of the firm between themselves.
“Apple is committed to advancing technologies that are good for the planet and help protect it for generations to come,” Tim Cook said in a statement, adding that “We are proud to be part of this ambitious new project, and look forward to one day being able to use aluminum produced without direct greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing of our products.”
Cook went on to add that his company has been involved in the project since back in 2015, when Apple engineers Brian Lynch, Jim Yurko, and Katie Sassaman began exploring the possibilities of creating a more efficient and environmentally-sound way of mass-producing aluminum.
After meeting with executives from metal manufacturing titan, Alcoa, whose original founder is credited with inventing the modern aluminum smelting process during the 19th century, Apple introduced them to executives with Australian/British metal-maker, Rio Tinto, paving the way for their inherent partnership, Apple Insider reports.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto have set their sights on a 2024 release date for debuting the venture’s penultimate “technology package” ahead of mass manufacturing kicking off sometime thereafter.