BMW-led consortium plans to establish green battery production in Europe: Page 3 of 3

October 16, 2018 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
BMW-led consortium plans to establish green battery production in Europe
When it comes to battery production, Europe depends on East Asia, and lithium-ion batteries are not exactly considered environmentally friendly because of the production conditions and the unresolved recycling issue. Now BMW has teamed up with Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt and Belgian materials technology expert Umicore to change this.

Northvolt is driven by the ambition is to become one of the first fully circular industrial companies in the lithium-ion battery business. This is why all the electrical power for its future production of battery cells originates from renewable resources, the company claims. Another important consideration for Northvolt is local and responsible sourcing of the raw materials needed. ”BMW and Northvolt have a shared commitment to reduce CO2 emissions from transportation. As batteries are becoming a key strategic question for car manufacturers, this partnership does not only mark a key milestone for Northvolt, it also highlights the importance of sustainable battery cells in the coming wave of electrification”, said Peter Carlsson, Co-Founder and CEO, Northvolt.

Umicore is the partner responsible for active anode and cathode materials development and recycling in the technology alliance. This collaboration will enable innovative and highly efficient production technologies to be applied to the production of active materials based on recycled metals. In addition, this project covers smart battery pack disassembly, screening for reutilisation of the battery cells and feeding the recycled resources back into active material production. As electric mobility continues to expand, growing needs will not be limited to sustainable extraction of raw materials – recovering materials that have already been used will also become increasingly important in easing the burden on raw material production.

With this particular technology project, the BMW Group, Northvolt and Umicore are aiming at laying the basis for a sustainable value chain for automotive battery cells in Europe, from development and production right through to recycling.

In Europe, BMW has already been manufacturing modules with supplied battery cells before using these modules to build complete batteries for plug-in hybrids and battery-powered electric vehicles. With its battery cell production, Northvolt provides the final element needed for purely European production of complete batteries for electric mobility applications in future, resulting in a substantial reduction in carbon emissions at the same time.

Umicore has recently announced it will soon start building a cathode material manufacturing facility in Europe and already runs a recycling plant for lithium-ion batteries in Europe. Umicore is advancing the technology for recycling battery cells and returning the recycled resources to the material production cycle, thereby making a vital contribution to the future of sustainable mobility.

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