Apple to make iPhone SE with world’s first-ever green aluminium

Apple to manufacture iPhone SE with world’s first-ever green aluminium
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on xing
Share on email
Share on facebook
Apple’s carbon emissions associated with aluminium have decreased by nearly 70 percent since 2015.

Investments from Apple’s $4.7 billion in Green Bonds have helped jump-start the development of new low-carbon manufacturing and recycling technologies. Apple has issued three Green Bonds since 2016, with projects showcasing how the investments can reduce global emissions and bring clean power to communities around the world. As part of this work, Apple is purchasing direct carbon-free aluminium following a major advancement in smelting technology to reduce emissions. The aluminium is the first to be manufactured at industrial scale outside of a laboratory without creating any direct carbon emissions during the smelting process.

The company intends for the material to be introduced in the iPhone SE. “Apple is committed to leaving the planet better than we found it, and our Green Bonds are a key tool to drive our environmental efforts forward,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives.

“Our investments are advancing the breakthrough technologies needed to reduce the carbon footprint of the materials we use, even as we move to using only recyclable and renewable materials across our products to conserve the earth’s finite resources.” In total, Apple has issued $4.7 billion to accelerate progress toward the company’s goal to become carbon neutral across its supply chain by 2030. Its first two bonds in 2016 and 2017 are now fully allocated.

The 2019 Green Bond is supporting 50 projects, including the low-carbon aluminium breakthrough. These 50 projects will mitigate or offset 2,883,000 metric tons of CO2e, install nearly 700 megawatts of renewable energy capacity around the world, and promote new recycling research and development.

Innovation in Green Aluminium Smelting

ELYSIS, the company behind the world’s first direct carbon-free aluminium smelting process, announced that it has produced the first commercial-purity primary aluminium at industrial scale for use in Apple products. The breakthrough technology produces oxygen instead of greenhouse gases, and the achievement marks a major milestone in the production of aluminium, one of the world’s most widely used metals. Apple will purchase this first batch of commercial-purity, low-carbon aluminium from ELYSIS for intended use in the iPhone SE. This aluminium was produced by ELYSIS at its Industrial Research and Development Centre in Quebec using hydropower.

Apple helped spur this revolutionary advancement in aluminium production through an investment partnership with Alcoa, Rio Tinto, and the governments of Canada and Quebec that began in 2018.

The following year, Apple purchased the first-ever commercial batch of aluminium resulting from the joint venture, using it in the production of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. “This is the first time aluminium has been produced at this commercial purity, without any greenhouse gas emission and at industrial scale. The sale to Apple confirms the market’s interest in aluminium produced using our breakthrough ELYSIS carbon-free smelting technology. Today’s announcement proves that ELYSIS, a joint venture between Alcoa and Rio Tinto, was able to turn an idea into reality,” said Vincent Christ, ELYSIS’s CEO. “We are excited to be working alongside Apple on this advancement, which has the potential to make lasting changes in how aluminium is produced.”

This milestone builds on the significant progress Apple has made in reducing the carbon impact of aluminium and other metals found in its products. By switching to recycled aluminium and aluminium smelted using hydroelectricity instead of fossil fuels, the company’s carbon emissions associated with aluminium have decreased by nearly 70 percent since 2015.

Every model in the iPad lineup, including the new iPad Air, along with the latest MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and Apple Watch, are made with a 100 percent recycled aluminium enclosure.

Commitment to Clean Energy

Apple continues to use its Green Bonds — which are among the largest in the private sector — to develop new sources of renewable energy. More than $500 million of the company’s 2019 Green Bond proceeds have been allocated to clean energy projects. This includes the world’s largest onshore wind turbines, which power the company’s data centre in Viborg, Denmark, with all surplus energy going back into the Danish grid.

Over the next year, Apple will expand the Viborg data centre’s operations and build new infrastructure to capture excess heat energy for the city’s long-term benefit. As with its data centres, all Apple offices and retail stores across 44 countries have sourced 100 percent clean energy since 2018, including through Green Bond proceeds.

In 2021, Apple’s 2019 Green Bond helped support its Supplier Clean Energy Program, including allocations to training and resources to help guide suppliers in their transition to clean power, and policy advocacy efforts in Japan, Vietnam, and South Korea to help build cost-effective renewable energy markets. More than 175 manufacturing partners across 24 countries have now committed to using 100 percent renewable energy for Apple production, a critical milestone toward ensuring every Apple product has a net-zero climate impact.

Share this story

Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on xing
Share on facebook
Green Steel World Editorial Team

Green Steel World Editorial Team

News brought to you by our editorial team. We are a knowledge platform – driving technology to the global green steel community. If you wish to contribute your press, please contact us.