The two major miners and aluminium processors are joint venture partners in Elysis, which has also drawn investment from Apple.
When fully developed and implemented the Elysis process will eliminate direct greenhouse gas emissions from the smelting process and instead produce oxygen.
The aim is to have the technology commercialised by 2024.
The Elysis Research and Development Centre will be located at Rio Tinto's Complexe Jonquière, Canada - the site of the Arvida smelter, Vaudreuil refinery and Arvida R&D Centre.
It is expected to be fully operational in the second half of 2020.
The research centre is locating in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region in Quebec because of the region's aluminium experience and the financial backing from both the Quebec and Canadian governments.
The Elysis team, which will have more than 25 experts when fully operational, will work with the Alcoa Technical Centre near Pittsburgh in the US.
Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said the technology could play an important role in helping to address the anthropogenic climate change by delivering carbon free aluminium smelting.
Together Rio Tinto, Alcoa and the governments of Canada and Quebec have provided a combined investment of C$188 (A$199) million. Apple has tipped in C$13 million.
Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon said the Elysis technology was undoubtedly one of the most important innovations in the aluminium industry and a major step forward in tackling anthropogenic climate change.