Rio Tinto plans to provide responsibly sourced aluminum to the BMW Group’s vehicle production plant in Spartanburg, S.C., for use in body components starting in 2024. Low-carbon primary aluminum from Rio Tinto’s hydro-powered operations in Canada, combined with recycled content, could generate a reduction of up to 70% in CO2 emissions compared to BMW Group’s benchmark for aluminum. The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see technical experts working together on how to embed low-carbon solutions into BMW Group’s supply chain while ensuring the highest standards of vehicle quality are maintained.
The partnership provides for the use of aluminum produced using ELYSIS on BMW production vehicles. According to Rio Tinto, ELYSIS enables the production of aluminum metal without direct CO2 emissions during the smelting process, instead emitting pure oxygen, making it the world’s first carbon-free smelting technology for aluminum. The technology uses inert anodes to replace the carbon anodes traditionally used during electrolysis.