Investment to help Canada’s aluminum industry eliminate its carbon footprint

News release

Support will help ELYSIS further its work to create the world’s first carbon-free aluminum, with strong local supply chains  

June 29, 2021 – Alma, Quebec

The Government of Canada continues to support Canadians and Canadian businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Investments in innovation, which will position Canada for success in the low-carbon economy, are key to supporting a robust and sustained economic recovery that will create more jobs for Canadians. Zero-carbon aluminum smelting is the kind of innovation that will help achieve both Canada’s economic and climate change goals.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced a $20-million investment in ELYSIS Limited Partnership, a joint venture launched in 2018 by Alcoa and Rio Tinto. This investment supports a $644-million project from ELYSIS, including significant investments in research and development. ELYSIS will directly employ 100 people through this project, and it has the potential to create more than 1,000 jobs by 2030, while securing 10,500 existing aluminum jobs in Canada. Furthermore, a total of 10 co-op students will work under this initiative.

This investment builds on the $60-million contribution announced in 2018. This new contribution will help ELYSIS develop local manufacturing supply chains, as well as further the research and commercialization of its groundbreaking technology. This contribution will secure important economic benefits for communities, as local companies will co-develop and supply specialized equipment for ELYSIS’ work to lower the industry’s carbon footprint and improve the efficiency of its operations. 

Once fully developed and implemented at Canadian aluminum smelters, ELYSIS’ technology would almost eliminate the Canadian aluminum industry’s smelting carbon footprint, eliminating as much as 7 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year, which represents 1% of Canada’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As Canadian, North American and global manufacturers transition toward green supply chains, this investment will leverage Canada’s reputation as a reliable and secure supplier of aluminum. The investment strengthens local manufacturing capabilities, integrating local workers and supply chains in the shift toward a greener and more resilient aluminum industry in Canada.  

This project aligns with A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, the Government of Canada’s strengthened climate plan that will help Canada achieve its economic and environmental goals.


“The investment announced today will help Canada’s world-class aluminum producers become leading players in the low-carbon economy and support key local players throughout the supply chain. We are proud to support ELYSIS in developing the world’s first carbon-free aluminium that will help Canada achieve its net-zero objective by 2050. This investment will foster innovation, create good jobs here in Quebec and help support the future competitiveness of Canada’s aluminum industry.”
- The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“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.”
- Vincent Christ, CEO of ELYSIS 

“We appreciate the support of the Government of Canada and its invaluable assistance in helping to support the continued research and development of the ELYSIS technology. We are proud to have developed the carbon-free smelting process that became the basis of this joint venture, which offers tremendous opportunity to address the challenges of climate change and contribute to improved environmental performance.”
- Louis Langlois, President, Alcoa Canada and ELYSIS board member

“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.”
- Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member

Quick facts

  • Employees at the ELYSIS facility in Alma, Quebec, are working on the commercialization of the world’s first zero-carbon aluminum smelting technology—a testament to Canadian ingenuity and Canada’s commitment to developing green technologies that drive sustainable and responsible economic growth.

  • The carbon emissions estimates for this project have been developed and validated in accordance with internationally recognized best practices for estimating impacts of GHG emissions.

  • The contribution announced today comes from the Strategic Innovation Fund.

Associated links


John Power
Senior Manager, Communications and Media Relations
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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