After announcing a technology partnership with aluminum producer Hydro in December 2022, Mercedes-Benz presents the first results of its low-carbon technology roadmap. After a pilot phase of low carbon aluminum with less than 25% of post-consumer waste, the company is starting mass production of cast structural components made from this more sustainable material this year. The tested aluminum has a carbon footprint of only 2.8 kg of CO2 per kg of aluminum.
“In moving towards carbon neutrality of our vehicle fleet by 2039, we are taking a step further: together with our strategic partner Hydro, we are introducing low-carbon aluminum in our production models from this summer. We are therefore reducing the footprint of Aluminum CO2 by 70% compared to the European average. Among the first models to feature this more durable material will be our EQS and EQE models. »
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Head of Technology, Development and Supply.
Low CO2 aluminum treatment for series models
Today, Hydro already supplies Mercedes-Benz with CO₂-reduced aluminum from a renewable energy-powered electrolyte. The next step will be to supply the most CO2-reduced aluminum to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Untertürkheim (part of Mettingen). This material represents about 60% of the total aluminum used for this type of alloy at the Mettingen foundry and contains at least 25% post-consumer waste. In Mettingen, the material is cast in modern structural elements for the use of body-in-white. This material is mainly used for safety components, such as shock towers for EQS, EQE, S-Class, E-Class, GLC and C-Class models. Additionally, the EQE will feature lower grade aluminum frame rails. CO2. Mercedes-Benz also plans to use this material for various other parts such as the powertrain support frame of the future MMA (Mercedes Modular Architecture) vehicle platform.
Decarbonizing the Aluminum Supply Chain: A Technology Roadmap
Combining materials in large-scale series production is the basis of the partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Hydro. The two partners have agreed on a technology roadmap with the aim of reducing carbon emissions in aluminum supply chains. As part of its Vision 2039, Mercedes-Benz aims to include in its vehicles, by 2030, aluminum whose carbon footprint has been reduced by 90% compared to the European average. Steps taken in this direction include the use of CO2-enhanced aluminum oxide and the reduction of CO2 emissions from the electrolysis process through the use of green electricity and innovative technologies.
At the same time, the partners are striving to increase the content of processing devices. Over the next ten years, Mercedes-Benz aims to increase the share of secondary raw materials in its passenger car fleet to an average of 40%.
Actively pursue a responsible and sustainable supply chain
Mercedes-Benz is fully committed to responsible sourcing of aluminum and will expand its use of certified materials, from mine to supplier, in accordance with the standards of the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI). In addition, Mercedes-Benz and Hydro are working together to establish transparent and inclusive processes, keeping the rights affected at the centre. Low barriers to the participation of mining communities and indigenous peoples are essential for effective human rights monitoring, including in accreditation systems.