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Apple to manufacture iPhone SE from aluminium created with carbon-free smelting

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Apple has announced it will be making its iPhone SE with aluminium that was manufactured, in a world first, without creating any direct carbon emissions during the smelting process.

Apple has made a $4.7bn investment in Green Bonds which helped develop the low carbon manufacturing process.

This large container — called a crucible — contains molten, commercial-purity aluminum tapped from the ELYSIS reactor, and delivers it to the ingot casting operation.

This aluminium is the first to be manufactured at industrial scale outside of a lab and without releasing any carbon into the atmosphere in the process.

“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.”

A stack of commercial-purity aluminum ingots, made without direct greenhouse gas emissions during the smelting process.

ELYSIS is the company behind the emission-free aluminium and Apple will purchase the first batch of the commercial purity, low carbon aluminium which will be uses to manufacture the iPhone SE.

“This is the first time aluminium has been produced at this commercial purity, without any greenhouse gas emission and at industrial scale,” said Vincent Christ, ELYSIS’s CEO.

“The sale to Apple confirms the market’s interest in aluminium produced using our breakthrough ELYSIS carbon-free smelting technology.

After being poured into the mold, molten aluminum is skimmed for any impurities, known as dross.

“Today’s announcement proves that ELYSIS, a joint venture between Alcoa and Rio Tinto, was able to turn an idea into reality.

“We are excited to be working alongside Apple on this advancement, which has the potential to make lasting changes in how aluminium is produced.”

The new iPhone SE

Apple’s carbon emissions associated with aluminium have dropped by almost 70 per cent since 2015.

Every iPad in the range, including the recently introduced iPad Air along with the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini and Apple Watch are also made with 100 per cent recycled aluminium enclosures.