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Alcoa to Supply Nexans with Low-Carbon Aluminum Rod

© by Denis Morel, Nexans

Alcoa formed an agreement with Nexans, a global cable producer, for the supply of primary aluminum produced using ELYSIS™ inert anode technology, which eliminates all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process.

“In the fight against climate change, solutions that support the world’s energy transition make a real difference,” said Vincent Dessale, chief operating officer and senior executive VP of Nexans. “By increasing our use of low-carbon aluminum, we want to lead the way toward a sustainable electrification of the world: the rod produced with this breakthrough technology could eliminate a significant portion of carbon dioxide emissions in the future. We are proud to be the world’s first cable manufacturer to use metal from the breakthrough technology ELYSIS.”

ELYSIS is a technology company jointly owned between Alcoa and Rio Tinto, which uses inert anodes to replace the carbon anodes traditionally used during electrolysis, which results in the production of oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. Since it was launched in 2018, ELYSIS has produced R&D quantities of the metal. The technology company is currently working to scale up its zero-carbon smelting process so it can be licensed for either retrofits of existing smelters or the construction of new ones. It operates an Industrial Research & Development Center in Québec, Canada with support from Alcoa’s Technical Center outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Both Alcoa and Rio Tinto are marketing and selling their share of the ELYSIS metal. Alcoa has delivered the metal for the wheels of the Audi eTron GT, the automaker’s first electric sports car. In addition, Rio Tinto has formed partnerships with BMW and Ford to explore the use of the metal in their vehicles. Apple is also an investor in the technology and has used ELYSIS metal for some of its products.

Several Nexans facilities in Western Europe and Scandinavia will use aluminum produced with ELYSIS to start qualifications for the metal’s use in various types of cables, from low, medium, to high voltage. Aluminum rod produced with this breakthrough technology could eliminate a significant portion of carbon dioxide emissions in the future. This agreement fully highlights Nexans’ position at the forefront of the sustainable electrification of the world and regarding crucial issues such as low-carbon emissions.

“Alcoa is well positioned to supply low carbon aluminum for the world’s transition to renewable energy, as we know that the true impact of decarbonization will also include the choice of materials used to build the infrastructure for generation, transmission, and distribution networks,” said Renato Bacchi, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Alcoa. “While we are developing ELYSIS for the future, we are also supplying low-carbon aluminum today with our EcoLum™ metal, which can help customers meet their own sustainability goals and lower their carbon footprints.”

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