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BMW, Northvolt and Umicore to jointly develop sustainable life cycle loop for EV batteries

The BMW Group, Northvolt and Umicore have formed a joint technology consortium in order to work closely together on the continued development of a complete and sustainable value chain for battery cells for electrified vehicles in Europe.

The project is seeking to press ahead with the sustainable industrialisation of battery cells in Europe and the associated acquisition of skills, from cell chemistry and development through to production and ultimately recycling. The development activities of the pan-European consortium will help to create high-tech jobs, thereby fully supports the EU Battery Alliance, founded by European Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič.

The chief objective is to make battery cells sustainable by establishing a closed life cycle loop. This starts with a recyclable cell design and continues with a manufacturing process that mostly uses renewable energy. The next step is a long period of primary use as a drive battery, possibly followed by another phase of secondary use as a stationary energy storage device. At the end of its life cycle, the cell is recycled and the raw materials reused, thereby completing the loop.

In view of the growing numbers of electrified vehicles, establishing a broad basis for procuring battery cells is becoming a matter of greater strategic significance for manufacturers. With Northvolt as a partner focused on sustainable production and the BMW Group in its capacity as a carmaker that is already developing its own battery cells today, this can be achieved to great effect.

Because battery cells contain essential resources and materials, feeding these back into the loop becomes more and more important as electric vehicles multiply in number. As Umicore is a global leader in the development and production of active materials for battery cells and resource recycling and the BMW Group boasts tremendous expertise in material and cell design, there are high hopes for some major achievements in this area too. Sustainability and efficiency are both crucial factors for Umicore.

”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.

”It is rewarding to see that Umicore’s product technologies and recycling services are key enablers for this technology alliance with BMW and Northvolt. By jointly demonstrating a closed loop for high performance, green and EU-based batteries, we are underlining the future potential and importance of a European supply chain for the success of car electrification in the region”, said Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore.

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

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