Nanoporous silicon is a promising anode material for high energy density batteries due to its high cycling stability and high tap density compared to other nanostructured anode materials. However, the high cost of synthesis and low yield of nanoporous silicon limit its practical application. Here, we develop a scalable, low-cost top-down process of controlled oxidation of Mg2Si in the air, followed by HCl removal of MgO to generate nanoporous silicon without the use of HF. By controlling the synthesis conditions, the oxygen content, grain size and yield of the porous silicon are simultaneously optimized from commercial standpoints. In situ environmental transmission electron microscopy reveals the reaction mechanism; the Mg2Si microparticle reacts with O2 to form MgO and Si, while preventing SiO2 formation. Owing to the low oxygen content and microscale secondary structure, the nanoporous silicon delivers a higher initial reversible capacity and initial Coulombic efficiency compared to commercial Si nanoparticles (3,033 mAh/g vs. 2,418 mAh/g, 84.3% vs. 73.1%). Synthesis is highly scalable, and a yield of 90.4% is achieved for the porous Si nanostructure with the capability to make an excess of 10 g per batch. Our synthetic nanoporous silicon is promising for practical applications in next generation lithium-ion batteries.