Elysis, a joint venture between aluminum companies Alcoa and Rio Tinto, is constructing a new research and development facility in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region in Québec, which will directly employ more than 25 experts when it is fully operational. “With the development of this research centre, we can proudly root our company in Québec, and in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean in particular,” said Vincent Christ, ceo of Elysis. “Our team is enthusiastic about working collaboratively to refine our technology so we can help bring the aluminium industry to new levels and make it even more sustainable.”
Elysis is working to commercialize breakthrough technology that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional aluminum smelting process, producing pure oxygen instead. The Elysis™ process is noted to have the potential to tremendously reduce the environmental footprint of the aluminum industry on a global scale. Elysis hopes to achieve the goal of zero-emission aluminum smelting by the year 2024.
“This new technology can play an important role in helping to address the climate change challenge by delivering carbon free aluminium smelting,” said Alf Barrios, ceo of Rio Tinto. “We are proud to be part of this pioneering project that could create significant value and allow customers to meet the growing consumer demand for responsible products.”
The new Elysis Research and Development Center will be located at Rio Tinto’s Jonquière complex, the site of the Arvida smelter, Vaudreuil alumina refinery, and Arvida Research and Development Centre. This region is known with expertise in the aluminum sector, and the new research center will receive significant financial backing from both the Quebec and Canadian governments.
“We look forward to the additional research and development work that will take place in Quebec to scale-up the technology that we first developed, which has the potential to transform the global aluminum industry and create an even more sustainable future.” said Tim Reyes, president of Alcoa Aluminum and executive vice president, Alcoa Corporation.
The Elysis team will continue to work in close collaboration with the Alcoa Technical Center (ATC) near Pittsburgh in the U.S., where this patent-protected technology was invented and has been producing metal at different rates since 2009. The ATC provides support to Elysis on the proprietary anode and cathode materials that are essential to this advanced smelting process.
The Elysis Research and Development Center expected to become fully operational in the second half of 2020.