BMW is significantly increasing the use of low-CO2 steel

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BMW is significantly increasing the use of low-CO2 steel-increasing

The car manufacturer BMW is continuously reducing the CO2 emissions in its supplier network as part of its sustainability activities. Steel, which is not produced with fossil raw materials such as coal, but on the basis of natural gas or hydrogen and green electricity, makes a significant contribution to this. The BMW Group has now concluded a corresponding agreement with Salzgitter AG for the supply of low-CO2 steel. The steel is to be used for the series production of automobiles in the European plants of the BMW Group from 2026.

BMW is thus extending the purchase of CO2-reduced steel to two suppliers. By 2030, more than 40 percent of the demand in the European plants should be covered with steel from low-CO2 production. According to BMW, this will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 400.000 tons per year reduced.

“This is an important step in substantially reducing CO2 emissions at their source in the supplier network. Our aim is to reduce the CO2 footprint of vehicles over their entire life cycle as part of a holistic approach. In the steel sector in particular, we are making progress by purchasing low-CO2 steel for our plants in Europe in the future.“ – Joachim Post, Board Member for Purchasing and Supplier Network BMW AG

“Salzgitter is placing ‘Circularity’ at the heart of its new strategy,” says Gunnar Groebler, CEO of Salzgitter AG. “We are convinced that closed flows of recyclable materials can only develop their full effect with strong partners. Therefore, we are very happy about the circular economy cooperation as well as the agreement to supply green steel with our long-term customer, the BMW Group. Partnering for transformation – our new corporate vision – is thus becoming a reality.”

The BMW Group already reached an agreement with the Swedish start-up H2 Green Steel in October last year. From as early as 2025, the company is to supply the European BMW Group plants with steel that is produced using hydrogen and exclusively green electricity from renewable energies. This process reduces CO2 emissions by around 95 percent.

The agreements with Salzgitter AG and H2 Green Steel are intended to cover more than 40 percent of the steel requirements in European plants in the coming years and around 400.Save 000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. The BMW Group’s press shops in Europe process more than half a million tons of steel every year.

Gradual conversion to low-CO2 steel production

Steel production causes high CO2 emissions due to the energy-intensive production. With its versatile properties, steel is one of the most important materials in automobile production and will continue to play an important role in the body and numerous components in the future.

In order to massively reduce CO2 emissions in steel production, Salzgitter AG is gradually converting steel production to almost CO2-free steel production. Central elements of the transformation are electricity from renewable sources and its use in the production of hydrogen using electrolysis. This green hydrogen is intended to increasingly replace the coal currently used in the conventional blast furnace process. This is made possible with the help of so-called direct reduction plants, in which iron ore is directly reduced to iron in the solid state using hydrogen. The solid iron produced is then melted down together with steel scrap in an electric arc furnace using regenerative electricity.

BMW is significantly increasing the use of low-CO2 steel-significantlybmw

Salzgitter AG plans to use this process to gradually reduce CO2 emissions in steel production to around five percent of the original emissions.

Closed circuit saves resources and reduces CO2 emissions

A good five years ago, the BMW Group set up a closed material cycle for sheet steel waste from the BMW Group plant in Leipzig together with Salzgitter AG. After the plant has been supplied with steel coils, on the way back Salzgitter AG takes away excess steel leftovers, such as those produced in the press shops when doors are punched out, and uses them to produce new steel. This steel is then delivered back to the BMW Group plants. In this way, raw materials are used several times in a circular economy and natural resources are conserved.

The sheet steel waste from the other European BMW plants is either reused via a direct material cycle or sent back to steel producers via the steel trade and processed into new steel.

Use of secondary steel from circular economy reduces CO2 emissions

The vehicles of the BMW Group today date to a quarter of the steel recycling cycles. The BMW Group plans to gradually increase the proportion of this secondary steel to 2030 to up to 50 percent.

Due to the significantly lower energy effort, CO2 emissions in the production of secondary steel is reduced by average by 50 to 80 percent compared to the production of primary steel.

Investment in start-ups accelerates development of new technologies

In addition to CO2-reduced steel, the BMW Group has invested in an innovative CO2-free steel production process on its venture Capital Fund BMW I Ventures, which has developed the US Startup Boston Metal. For its new technology, Boston Metal uses electricity to produce liquid iron via an electrolytic cell, which is later processed into steel. If electricity from renewable energies is used for this process, steel production is CO2-free. Boston Metal intends to expand the new process for industrial-scale steel production in the coming years.

By investing in start-ups, the BMW Group wants to accelerate the development of new technologies, promote competition and provide impetus that will make it easier for young companies to access the market. Innovative technologies lead to better, more sustainable and more efficient access to raw materials.

Investing in new technologies is one of many actions the BMW Group is taking to achieve its steel supply chain goals. For example, low-CO2 production is an important award criterion for every order.

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5 thoughts on “BMW is significantly increasing the use of low-CO2 steel”

  1. And then please switch from standard steel to stainless steel when you get the chance. That would be the most sustainable, because the “rust” death sentence is no longer applicable for many vehicles and repairing and converting Otto cars to an electric motor kit makes sense. Also for everyday classics that are not only taken out of the garage on Sundays when the sun is shining. With the Minis from the British Motor Corporation, that’s already on offer.

  2. I hope that BMW will also recycle all the steel scrap from the combustion tanks and that it will be as climate-neutral as possible. Perhaps BMW should consider stopping car production altogether and switching to steel production. It would certainly benefit the environment the most.

  3. It would be better for BMW to campaign politically for the energy transition in Bavaria, i.e. for more wind turbines and the power line for wind power from the north, which would gain more than the exchange of certificates.

  4. @Daniel W.:

    “BMW should do better politically in Bavaria for the energy transition, […] that would gain more than with the exchange of certificates.”

    Yes, that is too just “greenwashing with a difference”


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