This introduction to the industrial primary aluminum production process presents a short description of the electrolytic reduction technology, the history of aluminum, and the importance of this metal and its production process to modern society. Aluminum's special qualities have enabled advances in technologies coupled with energy and cost savings. Aircraft capabilities have been greatly enhanced, and increases in size and capacity are made possible by advances in aluminum technology. The metal's flexibility for shaping and extruding has led to architectural advances in energy-saving building construction. The high strength-to-weight ratio has meant a substantial reduction in energy consumption for trucks and other vehicles. The aluminum industry is therefore a pivotal one for ecological sustainability and strategic for technological development.