- Gradual conversion to low-CO2 steel production
- Closed circuit saves resources and reduces CO2 emissions
- Use of secondary steel from circular economy reduces CO2 emissions
- Investment in start-ups accelerates development of new technologies
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.
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.
The car manufacturer BMW intends to purchase steel from 2025, the production of which causes up to 95 percent less CO2 emissions and does not require…
The Volkswagen Group is making faster progress than expected with the goal of producing both efficiently and sustainably. At the same time, the company…
Mercedes-Benz strives to use steel CO2-free production. As the first car manufacturer, the Stuttgart now participates in the Swedish startup H2 Green…
The Volkswagen Group has made great progress in the supply of its works with electricity from renewable energies in 2020. The share of electricity…
The Ludwigshafen chemical group BASF and metal producer Nornickel have joined forces to jointly cover the increasing demand for battery materials in the…
The idea that Germany could essentially achieve its climate protection goals in the transport sector with electric cars is put into perspective by a…
The automaker BMW has a dynamic business development for the second quarter to show dynamic business development. For sales, result and surplus, the…
Thanks in part to Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement, everyone is currently talking about the climate crisis and its consequences. Green…
Audi counts with the Volkswagen Group to the first car manufacturers who have known for the Parisian climate agreement. The company has therefore set…
How can politics advance the decarbonization of mobility? 15 scientists from three renowned research institutes have been working on this question for…