BMW makes sustainable aluminium with Dubai’s Sun

solar aluminium BMW in Dubai, solar power plant

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) announced that the BMW Group is the first customer for EGA’s CelestiAL aluminium, made with the power of the desert sun.

EGA has supplied metal to BMW Group since 2013 for use in the German carmaker’s engines and other parts. EGA will supply 43,000 tonnes of CelestiAL aluminium to BMW Group per year.

Using solar aluminium from EGA will reduce BMW Group’s emissions by 222,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

BMW Group’s annual supply contract with EGA is worth a three-digit million-euro sum. EGA’s CelestiAL metal will cover almost half the annual requirements of Plant Landshut, the BMW Group’s only production facility for light metal casting in Europe.

Last year, Plant Landshut produced 2.9 million cast metal components including engine parts such as cylinder heads and crankcases, parts for electric drive trains, and vehicle body parts.

EGA’s CelestiAL aluminium is made using electricity generated at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, located in the desert outside Dubai and operated by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. EGA began production of CelestiAL earlier this month, the first time solar power has been used to produce aluminium commercially worldwide.

Producing aluminium is energy intensive, and generating electricity accounts for some 60 per cent of the global aluminium industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. The use of solar power significantly reduces the emissions associated with aluminium smelting.

Abdulnasser bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of EGA, said, “We are delighted that the BMW Group is the first customer for EGA’s low carbon CelestiAL. Aluminium is lightweight, strong and infinitely recyclable, and that is why it has an important role to play in developing a more sustainable society and making modern life possible. One key example of this is by improving the efficiency of vehicles through reducing their weight.

“But it also matters how sustainably aluminium is made. Solar aluminium is a step forward – using a natural and abundant source of energy in our desert environment to make a metal that is vital to our planet’s future.”

Dr. Andreas Wendt, BMW AG Board Member for Purchasing and Supplier Network, said, “In EGA, we have found a strong partner who values sustainable development just as much as we do. It is a special honour for us to be the first customer to receive aluminium produced using solar electricity. Aluminium plays an important role in e-mobility and using sustainably produced aluminium is tremendously important to our company.”

rio tinto blockchain aluminum, smelting

Rio Tinto smelts aluminium

Another aluminium producer, Rio Tinto, announced this week that they will make sustainable aluminium as well and they will put the traceability part on the blockchain. 

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