This could be the biggest advance in aluminum production in 130 years

Apple, the largest publicly traded company in the world, joined a major collaboration last week that could change how it gets one of the key components that makes its ubiquitous gadgets look so sleek: aluminum.

And it is looking as though, simply by seeking out a greener component for iPhones and Macs, the tech giant just might push an entire industry in a new direction.

Along with major U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa and multinational mining behemoth Rio Tinto, Apple announced a collaboration in Canada to fund a technology that, the companies say, can remove carbon dioxide emissions from the high-temperature smelting process that goes into making aluminum. Alcoa and Rio Tinto also announced a joint venture named Elysis to scale up and commercialize the technology, in which the government of Canada and Apple will invest.

“Apple is committed to advancing technologies that are good for the planet and help protect it for generations to come,” chief executive Tim Cook said in a statement. “We are proud to be part of this ambitious new project, and look forward to one day being able to use aluminum produced without direct greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing of our products.”

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