Membrane Extraction for Aluminum Production

Default ARPA-E Project Image

Des Plaines, Illinois
Project Term:
01/01/2014 - 03/31/2015

Technology Description:

Gas Technology Institute (GTI) is developing a continuously operating cell that produces low-cost aluminum powder using less energy than conventional methods. Conventional aluminum production is done by pumping huge electrical currents into a vat of molten aluminum dissolved in mineral salts at nearly 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. GTI’s technology occurs near room temperature using reusable solvents to dissolve the ore. Because GTI’s design relies on chemical dissolution rather than heat, its cells can operate at room temperature, meaning it does not suffer from wasteful thermal energy losses associated with conventional systems. GTI’s electrochemical cell could also make aluminum production significantly less expensive by using less costly, domestically available ore with no drop in quality.

Potential Impact:

If successful, GTI’s low-temperature cell would consume less energy compared to conventional processes while producing more cost-effective aluminum.


Light-weighting vehicles to improve fuel efficiency could reduce U.S. dependence on foreign fossil fuel resources used in the transportation industry.


Transforming aluminum production could eliminate nearly 150 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2025.


Reducing energy consumption and materials usage could lower the cost of aluminum by 44%, making aluminum applications for light weight vehicles more accessible to consumers.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. James Klausner
Project Contact:
Dr. Chinbay Fan
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

Related Projects

Release Date: