Circular Lighting Report

Excitement mounts over carbon-free aluminium

carbon free aluminium

Lighting manufacturers are experimenting with breakthrough carbon-free aluminium, made in a process which emits no greenhouse gases.
The technology – which is being pioneered in a partnership by global aluminium giants and rivals Rio Tinto and Alcoa – is said to be the first smelting process ever developed which emits oxygen as its by-product.
In the standard smelting process used to create aluminium, oxygen from the alumina combines with carbon from the anode to produce carbon dioxide. Instead, the new process uses stable proprietary materials that don’t react during the process.
In Canada alone, it’s estimated that using the technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 6.5 million metric tons – the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
Aluminium produced using the Elysis process has already been used by Apple for its iPhone SE, the brewing company ABInBev for Michelob Ultra beer cans, Audi for the wheels on its eTron GT model and Nexans for high voltage cables.
UK lighting firm Formation Lighting says it’s working to integrate the Elysis materials into ‘every product possible’.
It described the breakthrough as ‘taking the miracle metal’s sustainable advantage to a new level’.
The lighting industry has for many years been trying to reduce the environmental impact of its use of aluminium, the dominant metal in the sector. Glamox Lighting recently announced that is switching from virgin aluminium to recycled aluminium in its luminaires as standard.
The company has already made the switch for one of its most popular luminaires and is preparing to extend it to other families.
Recycled aluminium is created by re-melting scrap metal.‘We’ve already implemented the plan to shift over to recycled aluminium in the manufacture of a popular luminaire which will result in a 63 pe rcent reduction in the emissions of CO2 equivalents over using new aluminium in these profiles,’ Birger Holo, technical director, professional business solutions, Glamox, told the Circular Lighting Report.
Recycling aluminium is less expensive and energy-intensive than creating new aluminium, which is made by the electrolysis of aluminium oxide, which must first be mined from bauxite ore and then fired.

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Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.