BMW announces world’s first solar-powered aluminum productionFebruary 9, 2021
German carmaker BMW AG has announced a partnership with industrial giant Emirates Global Aluminum PJSC (EGA) to set up a CO2-free aluminum plant. EGA will set up a solar-power plant in the UAE and will supply BMW with about 43,000 metric tons of aluminum per year. The automaker estimates that solar aluminum will reduce its supply chain carbon footprint by 20% by 2030.
The solar energy used in the metal-making process will come from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, a vast complex located in the desert south of Dubai. The aluminum will then be processed and turned into automotive parts in a light metal foundry at BMW’s plant in Landshut, Germany. BMW also added that supplies from the UAE will account for up to 50% of the German company’s annual demand, and the total capacity of the solar power plant will reach 5 GW by the end of this decade, Bloomberg reported.
“In the near future, we will be able to achieve over 50% of our supply chain CO2 targets simply by using clean energy. The use of solar electricity for aluminum production is an important step in this direction, ”explained Andreas Wendt, Member of the Management Board of BMW AG, responsible for procurement and supplier network.
In addition to the overall concern for the environment, the new agreement will also affect another BMW initiative – the electrification of the transport sector. The company noted that the ubiquity of electric vehicles leads to lower CO2 emissions, but at the same time another problem comes to the fore – mass production of batteries. If the operating period of the car becomes less harmful every year, then the manufacturing companies are forced to increase production capacity to meet the growing demand.
BMW officials admitted that without corrective measures, CO2 emissions per vehicle in the supply chain will increase by more than a third by 2030. For this reason, BMW will switch entirely to solar-powered aluminum batteries and the company says it has already agreed with its current fifth-generation battery cell suppliers to use only clean energy.
Using aluminum from EGA, BMW will cut carbon emissions by 222,000 metric tons per year. What’s more, the automaker not only wants to reduce its current emissions, but to reverse the trend – in the coming years, every BMW vehicle will begin to reduce emissions by 20% compared to the level of 2019 cars.