Where are they now? - with Jón Hjaltalín from Arctus
With over 30 years’ experience in the aluminium smelting industry, Hjaltalín knows a revolutionary idea when he sees one, and when he met Dr Theodore Beck, a professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, he knew he’d found something potentially extraordinary.
Hjaltalín met Beck a few times at the USA’s Minerals, Metals and Materials Society conferences. He had heard of the professor’s work and also knows Beck’s family back in Iceland. Beck’s idea was both “interesting and challenging,” says Hjaltalín. The academic idea Beck was working on, was to create a “completely new” aluminium process based on multiple vertical, inert or non-consumable metallic anodes and ceramic cathodes, with a lower temperature electrolyte (800C). The electrolyte dissolves the alumina into oxygen and aluminium, explains Hjaltalín.