A method of producing aluminum in an electrolytic cell containing alumina dissolved in an electrolyte. A plurality of non-consumable anodes are disposed substantially vertically in the electrolyte along with a plurality of monolithic hollow cathodes. Each cathode has a top and bottom and the cathodes are disposed vertically in the electrolyte and the anodes and the cathodes are arranged in alternating relationship. Each of the cathodes is comprised of a first side facing a first opposing anode and a second side facing a second opposing anode. The first and second sides are joined by ends to form a reservoir in the hollow cathode for collecting aluminum therein deposited at the cathode.
The invention embodied in the subject matter described herein was made during work financed by the following government contracts: Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Contract #320879-AF2; and Department of Energy Office of Industrial Technologies Contract #DE-FC07-98ID13662