Mercedes-Benz working to add low-carbon and recycled aluminum to vehicles

Mercedes-Benz and Norwegian Aluminum maker Hydro have signed an agreement under which Hydro will supply low-carbon aluminum to the auto manufacturer.

As a result of the partnership, the CO₂ footprint of the aluminum supplied by Hydro will be almost 70% lower than the European average by next year.

The two companies also plan to expand the use of recycled aluminum on the automotive supply chain.

“Aluminum is becoming increasingly important as a lightweight material in electric vehicles. We are intensively working with our partners on finding levers to lower CO₂ emissions in the aluminum supply chain,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, and chief technology officer, development and procurement

“I am very happy that we now join forces with Hydro as a long-standing expert in producing renewable energies to tackle one of the biggest challenges in the automotive industry. This is an important signal to accelerate change in the aluminum industry and increase the availability of low carbon aluminum.”

Low carbon aluminum

Together with steel, aluminum is proportionally the most widely used material in many vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is retooling its supply chain to focus on the prevention and reduction of CO₂ emissions rather than through offsetting. The partnership will help the Stuttgart-based carmaker reach its emission reduction goals.

Next to technological improvements, increasing the use of recycled material plays a major role for realizing further CO₂ reductions. Producing aluminum by using secondary material only requires five percent of the energy compared to aluminum production based on primary resources. As part of the collaboration Mercedes-Benz and Hydro even want to take it one step further by exploring solutions how to implement a closed-loop-recycling.

“Mercedes-Benz is a forward-leaning company, and a perfect partner for Hydro. The ambition of making their entire fleet of new passenger cars CO₂-neutral by 2039 matches Hydro’s ambition to deliver industrial-scale zero-carbon aluminum by 2030,” said Hilde Merete Aasheim, president and CEO of Hydro.

“Partnerships and collaboration in the value chains can accelerate technology developments needed to reduce emissions, and we are excited to have Mercedes joining us on our path to zero carbon aluminum.”

Active engagement

Mercedes-Benz is committed to the responsible sourcing of aluminum, relying on the application of recognized standards and certificates. The manufacturer is part of the non-profit Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI), which supports the spread of an independent certification scheme for the entire aluminum value chain. The aim is to improve human rights, the environment and responsible business management – from aluminum production and usage to recycling. Today the ASI standard is applied in Mercedes-Benz press shops in Europe.

To build expertise around community participation in audits and standards processes, the company supported a project in cooperation with the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) focused on increasing the involvement of affected local communities before, during and after the assessment of mine sites and ensuring that the process has a positive impact on the situation on-site.