Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.
ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production
ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.
The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.
The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).
The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.
The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.
ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.
ELYSIS technology at a glance:
- The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
- The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters 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 tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
- ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.
ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.
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 in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.
Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”
Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”
Hitachi partners with ABB to develop electric dump truck
Hitachi Construction Machinery and ABB have signed a collaboration agreement to develop an engineless, full battery rigid frame dump truck with a customised on-board energy storage system, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and offering a solution towards a net zero emission pathway.
How Hitachi and ABB are supporting zero goals with the move from diesel to full electric battery operation
Utilising ABB’s innovative battery technology, Hitachi Construction Machinery trucks can be transformed from diesel to full electric battery operation. The dump trucks will operate by utilising a new onboard electrification system – drawing its energy requirements from an energy supply system with dynamic charging, allowing simultaneous charging of the on-board energy storage system while providing energy to power the truck.
The system will provide extended battery longevity by reducing the load and discharge during each haul cycle, offering a cost-efficient industry solution that allows continuous operation to maintain high productivity.
Hitachi and ABB signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2021 to build a partnership aimed at realising net zero emissions. ABB will develop the on-board energy storage systems by customising an existing product and Hitachi Construction Machinery will lead the overall design and development of the dynamic charging battery dump truck utilising the technology of its existing rigid dump truck with trolley as its base, effectively allowing the accelerated development of this solution.
Hitachi and ABB are innovating to drive the electrification of mining operations
Hitachi Construction Machinery and ABB understand there is a growing interest in the electrification of mining operations and machinery, as environmental awareness grows within the industry and community.
Technology continues to be further developed in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while taking into consideration the demands of mining operations,” the companies said in a statement.
“By utilising Hitachi Construction Machinery’s dynamic charging battery dump truck systems and ABB’s battery technology, the joint collaboration will not only help tackle the challenge of solving the issues involved in dump truck electrification, but also provide a real-world climate change solution.”
Features of the dynamic charging battery dump truck being jointly developed by Hitachi and ABB
- Controls the initial and lifecycle costs - By drawing the electrical power from the dynamic charging system required during operation will limit the volume of batteries on the trucks, providing a sustainable solution. In addition, the system aims to reduce the lifecycle costs by drawing electrical power from the overhead system while connected, simultaneously charging the battery in an appropriate manner to reduce the load and depth of discharge, maximizing battery life.
- Reduces the vehicle weight and maximizes the load capacity - Limiting the battery volume lessens the weight of the battery solution on the vehicle, maximizing the battery dump truck’s payload capacity.
- Dynamic charging solution to provide a higher rate of operation over static charging - The solution draws electrical power from the dynamic charging system during operation while simultaneously charging the battery, removing the need to stop the vehicle for recharging. Therefore, achieving a higher rate of continuous operation to maintain productivity at site.