The BMW Group will begin sourcing aluminium produced using solar electricity with immediate effect. This marks an important milestone on the road to the company's goal of lowering CO2 emissions in its supplier network by 20 per cent by 2030. Since producing aluminium is highly energy-intensive, the use of green power - such as solar electricity - offers considerable potential for reducing CO2emissions. That is why the BMW Group also plans to source aluminium produced with green power in the long term - enabling it to avoid approx. 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the next ten years.
The aluminium produced using solar power is processed in the light metal foundry at BMW Group Plant Landshut to manufacture body and drive train components, including those needed for electric drive trains, for instance. Sourcing 43,000 tonnes of solar aluminium valued in the three-digit million euros will supply nearly half the annual requirements of the light metal foundry at Plant Landshut.
The BMW Group has therefore already agreed with suppliers for its current fifth-generation battery cells that they will only use green power for producing battery cells.
As e-mobility takes off, aluminium will become increasingly important as a lightweight material that can partially offset the heavy weight of the batteries in electrified vehicles. However, producing aluminium is extremely energy-intensive. Generating the electricity needed to produce primary aluminium, i.e. aluminium obtained directly from the mineral compound alumina, is alone responsible for about 60 per cent of the global aluminium industry's greenhouse gas emissions. The use of solar electricity is therefore an effective lever for reducing the CO2 emissions associated with aluminium smelting.
The BMW Group already has a long-standing supply relationship for primary aluminium with Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA). EGA has now become the first company in the world to also use solar electricity for commercial production of aluminium, which it will initially supply exclusively to the BMW Group. EGA sources the electricity used to produce the aluminium destined for the BMW Group from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in the desert outside of Dubai, which, in the final stage of development, is set to become the world's largest solar park. It is operated by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, which has the electricity it produces sustainably certified by third parties, ensuring that it can supply EGA with power that is traceable and transparent.
The BMW Group aims to have more than seven million electrified vehicles on the roads by 2030 - two thirds of them fully-electric. For this order of magnitude, BMW Group Purchasing is working with suppliers to ensure not only that the supply chain can manage the growth in volumes, but also that it can implement the requirements for sustainable development.