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ELYSIS progresses on the commercialization of its breakthrough technology by issuing its first smelter technology licence

ELYSIS progresses on the commercialization of its breakthrough technology by issuing its first smelter technology licence

Media release
28 June 2024

MONTRÉAL, June 28, 2024 /CNW/ - Progress towards the large-scale implementation of the ELYSIS™ disruptive technology has achieved a new milestone with the granting to Rio Tinto of the first smelter technology licence for a 100 kiloamperes (kA) demonstration plant with 10 pots that will be built at its Arvida site in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Québec. This major investment highlights the scale-up potential of the inert anode smelter technology. This technology eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process, producing oxygen instead.

The granting of a first smelter licence to an aluminium producer builds on the successes of the tests conducted at the Industrial Research and Development Centre in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. Concurrently, ELYSIS has begun commissioning its industrial prototype cells (450 kA) at the end of an existing potline at Rio Tinto's Alma smelter, with the start-up sequence set to begin in 2024.

Ramping up towards full commercialization

This first smelter technology licence will enable ELYSIS to advance the technology demonstration on a larger scale, representing a first milestone towards its commercialization. To achieve this, ELYSIS has expanded its team, now reaching 200 employees. In 2022 and 2023, ELYSIS hired 80 talented new team members with 70 of the new hires based in Québec.

This dynamic progress is also evident in the increased investment in the ELYSIS joint venture, which has reached CAN$650 million.  ELYSIS has now received approximately 65% private funding and 35% public funding, reflecting investors' strong confidence in the technology's success.

As part of the development of new key equipment for the operation of the inert anode smelter technology, ELYSIS has entered into a series of long-term partnerships with local suppliers in Quebec. These partnerships are essential to the deployment of the ELYSIS™ technology.

The technology at a glance

  • The ELYSIS™ technology meets the global demand for products with a low carbon footprint, ranging 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.
  • In Canada alone, the ELYSIS™ technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tonnes per year, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roadway network.
  • ELYSIS will also license next-generation electrode technology, with inert anodes lasting more than 30 times longer than traditional carbon-based anodes.

ELYSIS is an unprecedented world-class partnership of two major aluminium industry pioneers, Alcoa and Rio Tinto, developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode.

The ELYSIS™ technology will enable the production of widely used products with a reduced environmental impact, thereby transforming the aluminum industry and significantly lowering its carbon footprint.

ELYSIS is collaborating closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was developed, as well as with the Rio Tinto technology design team in France and in Quebec.

Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS™ process. The Rio Tinto technology team, based in France and in Québec, is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS™ technology.


"Developing such a revolutionary technology for the aluminium industry is quite a journey. It takes time, and it means adapting to the challenges of perfecting a whole new process and technology. The achievement of this new milestone marks an important turning point in the advancement of the ELYSIS™ technology, demonstrating continued progress from what was a dream to a transformative force for the aluminum industry. By granting a first inert anode technology licence to Rio Tinto, ELYSIS is one step closer to its full technology scale-up."

-  Vincent Christ, ELYSIS CEO

"This investment will further strengthen Rio Tinto's industry-leading position in low-carbon, responsible aluminium in North America with our hydro-powered smelters and our recycling capacity. Becoming the first to deploy the ELYSIS™ carbon-free smelting technology is the next step in our strategy to decarbonize and grow our Canadian aluminium operations. In addition to delivering even lower carbon primary aluminium to our customers, this investment will allow Rio Tinto to build expertise in installing and operating this new technology, while the ELYSIS™ joint venture pursues research and development work to scale it up to its full potential."

-  Jérôme Pécresse, Rio Tinto Aluminium Chief Executive

"Since inventing the aluminum smelting process in 1886, which is still in use today, Alcoa has continued to create transformational technologies to improve our industry. We are proud to progress the technology initially developed at our technical center to its next phase within the ELYSIS partnership. Aluminum plays a critical role in the world's energy transition and decarbonization efforts; with the ELYSIS™ technology, the smelting of this amazing metal can also be done without direct carbon emissions."

-  William F. (Bill) Oplinger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alcoa Corporation


ELYSIS is a technology company that emerged from a ground-breaking partnership between two global industry leaders, Alcoa and Rio Tinto. ELYSIS' goal is to revolutionize the way aluminium is produced across the globe. Our process eliminates all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting, producing oxygen instead. Learn more at

For additional information: Louis-Martin Leclerc, TACT, Cell: 418-693-2425,