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70 percent less CO2: BMW Group plans to source aluminium from sustainable production in Canada from 2024

+++ Rio Tinto’s aluminium production relies on local hydroelectric power +++ Innovative electrolysis method eliminates all process-related CO2 emissions +++ Potential to use of up to 50 percent secondary material +++ Set to supply US vehicle production at Plant Spartanburg +++

Aluminium
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Production network
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Rio Tinto
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CO2 emissions
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Canada
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Electrolysis
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secondary material
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Hydropower
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green power
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Quebec
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Blockchain
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environmental and social standards
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environment
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supplier network
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supply chain
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Environment
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Sustainability
 

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BMW Group

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Munich. The BMW Group is continuing its efforts to systematically reduce CO2 emissions in the supply chain. A particular focus is on CO2-intensive materials like aluminium, steel and plastics. The BMW Group therefore intends to source aluminium with significantly reduced CO2 emissions from Rio Tinto’s hydro-powered operations in Canada starting in 2024 and has signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect. Compared to conventionally manufactured aluminium, this approach can save around 70 percent of CO2 emissions. The planned supply volumes will be used exclusively in vehicle production at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the US state of South Carolina, in body components like the bonnet, for instance.

“We have clear goals for lowering CO2 emissions in the supply chain. By using innovative materials, we can reduce our vehicles’ carbon footprint – even before handing them over to customers. The agreement to supply low-carbon aluminium is based on several pillars: in addition to hydroelectric power and a high percentage of secondary material, we also want to lead the automotive industry by ramping up our use of aluminium with no direct CO2 emissions from the smelting process,” explains Joachim Post, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said: “Canada is a global destination of choice for low-carbon investment. This exciting partnership between BMW and Rio Tinto is proof that Canada is well positioned to seize the economic benefits of the clean economy. I am proud to see that low carbon Canadian aluminum will be going into BMW’s vehicles. Canada will continue to enhance our competitive advantages – abundance of critical minerals, skilled labour, clean energy, proximity to markets – to grow our economy and to support made-in-Canada innovation.”

Owing to its comparatively low weight and other positive material properties, aluminium occupies a firm place in the BMW Group’s intelligent composite construction. In the supply chain of a mid-sized fully-electric vehicle around a quarter of the CO2 emissions are attributable to aluminium. This underlines the tremendous potential of reducing CO2 in the aluminium supply chain.

 

Innovative manufacturing process

The ELYSIS technology developed for aluminium production, is revolutionising the smelting process required for manufacturing, by generating oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. The innovative method uses carbon-free anodes to eliminate all process-related CO2 emissions and was successfully tested at industrial level for the first time in 2021. The BMW Group intends to become one of the first customers to use this technology in standard production.

 

Other pillars of agreement with Rio Tinto

In addition to the carbon-free process, the agreement also covers aluminium alloys produced using electricity from renewable energy sources, with CO2 emissions that are only a third of the industry average. The aluminium production facilities in Quebec run almost entirely on electricity from six local hydroelectric power stations. As a further contribution to resource conservation, recycled content will be mixed in with the end product to potentially reach up to 50 percent secondary material.

 

The use of Rio Tinto’s blockchain technology also guarantees full traceability of the aluminium, all the way back to the original bauxite mine. This enables end-to-end transparency throughout the supply chain and therefore plays an important part in tracking compliance with environmental and social standards for extraction of raw materials.

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CO2 emission information.

Fuel consumption, CO2 emission figures and power consumption and range were measured using the methods required according to Regulation VO (EC) 2007/715 as amended. They refer to vehicles on the German automotive market. For ranges, the NEDC figures take into account differences in the selected wheel and tyre size, while the WLTP figures take into account the effects of any optional equipment.

All figures have already been calculated based on the new WLTP test cycle. NEDC figures listed have been adjusted to the NEDC measurement method where applicable. WLTP values are used as a basis for the assessment of taxes and other vehicle-related duties which are (also) based on CO2 emissions and, where applicable, for the purposes of vehicle-specific subsidies. Further information on the WLTP and NEDC measurement procedures is also available at www.bmw.de/wltp.

For further details of the official fuel consumption figures and official specific CO2 emissions of new cars, please refer to the “Manual on the fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and power consumption of new cars”, available at sales outlets free of charge, from Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH (DAT), Hellmuth-Hirth-Str. 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen and at https://www.dat.de/co2/.

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