Canadian Manufacturing

ELYSIS completes Industrial R&D Center in Saguenay, QC

New process will reduce operating costs of aluminium smelters while increasing production capacity.

December 16, 2020  by CM Staff

SAGUENAY — Work to commercialize a process that produces carbon-free aluminium reached another milestone with the completion of construction on the ELYSIS Industrial Research and Development Center in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Québec.

ELYSIS, a joint venture by Alcoa and Rio Tinto, is scaling up a technology that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases from the aluminium smelting process, instead producing oxygen.

The completion of construction on the facility is the next step towards ramping up to industrial scale the technology, first developed at the Alcoa Technical Center near Pittsburgh in the United States. The new center will produce metal at a scale similar to smaller, industrial-sized smelting cells that are in operation by some producers today.

Commissioning of the Industrial Research and Development Center, in a space leased at the Rio Tinto’s Complexe Jonquière, is now underway with full-scale research and development work to begin in the first half of 2021.

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ELYSIS continues to work closely with Alcoa’s and Rio Tinto’s technology teams. The team at Alcoa’s Technical Center provides support to ELYSIS, especially in the manufacture of proprietary materials that are used to produce the new, proprietary anodes essential to the carbon-free process.

The 25-member operations team at the Industrial Research and Development Center will complete technical training over the next few months, along with equipment tests and commissioning activities for the full start-up.

The technology at a glance

  • The ELYSISTM technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
  • The new process will reduce operating costs of aluminium smelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
  • ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.

“We’re proud to have reached this milestone with completing the Industrial Research and Development Center, despite the challenges of 2020 with the global pandemic. Commissioning the Centre will be a significant step forward for ELYSIS in its journey towards the large-scale commercialization of its technology. We are seeing strong results on metal purity and electrode durability as we continue to develop the ELYSIS technology, and are extremely encouraged by the interest in the market.” said Vincent Christ, CEO of ELYSIS.