Alcoa to supply Nexans with low-carbon aluminum, including metal from ELYSIS™ technology

2 February 2024

Alcoa announced today that it will supply global cable producer Nexans with aluminum produced from a revolutionary process that eliminates all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process.

Nexans will be the world’s first cable manufacturer to use metal from the breakthrough ELYSIS™ process, which replaces all greenhouse gas emissions with oxygen. The technology uses proprietary materials, including inert anodes, first developed at the Alcoa Technical Center near Pittsburgh. That research and development work became the technological basis for ELYSIS™, a technology partnership that is working to ramp up the process to commercial scale.

Several Nexans facilities in Western Europe and Scandinavia will use aluminum produced from the ELYSIS™ process to start qualifications for the metal’s use in various types of cables, from low, medium to high voltage. Aluminum rod produced with this breakthrough ELYSIS™ technology could eliminate a significant portion of carbon dioxide emissions in the future.

This latest announcement further builds on the two companies’ historic long-term relationship. Alcoa already supplies Nexans with EcoLum™, a primary aluminum with a carbon footprint that is nearly three times lower than the industry average.1

Since the launch of ELYSIS™ in 2018, the technology company has produced R&D quantities of the metal. Alcoa is marketing and selling its share of the ELYSIS metal, which has also been used for the wheels on the Audi eTron GT, the automaker’s first electric sports car. Apple is also an investor in the technology and has used ELYSIS metal for some of its products.

ELYSIS is a key component in Alcoa’s technology roadmap of research and development projects that also includes projects such as the ASTRAEA™ metal purification process and the Refinery of the Future.

This agreement fully highlights Nexans’ position at the forefront of the sustainable electrification of the world and regarding crucial issues such as low-carbon emissions.

Renato Bacchi – Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Alcoa:

“Alcoa is well positioned to supply low carbon aluminum for the world’s transition to renewable energy, as we know that the true impact of decarbonization will also include the choice of materials used to build the infrastructure for generation, transmission and distribution networks. While we are developing ELYSIS™ for the future, we are also supplying low-carbon aluminum today with our EcoLum™ metal, which can help customers meet their own sustainability goals and lower their carbon footprints.”

Vincent Dessale – Nexans Chief Operating Officer Senior Executive VP:

“In the fight against climate change, solutions that support the world’s energy transition make a real difference. By increasing our use of low-carbon aluminum, we want to lead the way toward a sustainable electrification of the world: the rod produced with this breakthrough technology could eliminate a significant portion of carbon dioxide emissions in the future. We are proud to be the world’s first cable manufacturer to use metal from the breakthrough technology ELYSIS™.”

1: Alcoa’s EcoLum™ primary aluminum is produced with less than 4.0 metric tons of CO2e for every ton of metal, including both direct and indirect (Scope 1 and Scope 2) emissions from mining, refining, smelting and casting. EcoLum's emissions intensity vs. the global average per ton of per ton of CO2e/ton of aluminum is approximately three times better than the global average of 13.3, based on CRU emissions intensity data, 2022