BMW and Circular economy for responsible resource management

BMW and Circular economy for responsible resource management

27.07.2020: Alongside lowering CO2 emissions, resource management also plays a central role in the BMW Group's business model: For instance, electromobility cannot rely solely on primary materials in the long term.

Alongside lowering CO2 emissions, resource management also plays a central role in the BMW Group's business model: For instance, electromobility cannot rely solely on primary materials in the long term.



The underlying flow of resources needs to change. By making the recycling chain more transparent, the BMW Group aims to create high-quality secondary material and enable itself to track actual further use of raw materials in the cycle. “Our goal is clear: We want to further close the material cycles to protect nature’s finite resources and use them even more efficiently,” said Zipse.



Vehicles already have to be 95 percent recyclable – but the percentage of secondary material in new vehicles is still relatively low. That is why the BMW Group plans to increase the share of secondary material in its vehicles significantly by 2030 – and is also exploring very far-reaching scenarios.



Secondary material reduces CO2 emissions substantially compared to primary materials: by roughly factor 3-4 for aluminium and factor 2-3 for cobalt, nickel and lithium. Minimising the amount of new extraction needed is also essential to conserve resources and reduce the potential for conflict – especially for critical raw materials.



The circular economy plays a particularly crucial role when it comes to high-voltage batteries for electrified vehicles, which use a number of critical raw materials. Although the European Union currently requires a recycling rate of only 50 percent for high-voltage batteries, the BMW Group has partnered with German recycling specialist Duesenfeld to develop a method that can achieve a recycling rate of up to 96 percent – including graphite and electrolytes.



The BMW Group already takes back all used BMW high-voltage batteries worldwide – even though there is no legal requirement to do so. Before recycling comes second-life usage at battery storage farms like the one at BMW Group Plant Leipzig.




The BMW Group is also piloting digital tools all the way to blockchain technology to track and verify global flows of goods. The PartChain project, for instance, enables tamper-proof and consistently verifiable collection of data in the supply chain. Going forward, critical raw materials, in particular, could be tracked all the way from mine to smelter.

 



Max-Morten Borgmann, photo BMW



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27.07.2020 / MaP

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