Climate

Putting our cars on a diet, making the world lighter

Nils Vibe-Rheymer

By , Communication Manager i Hydro

Putting our cars on a diet, making the world lighter

A car part in steel weighs approximately twice as much as the same part in aluminium. Photo: iStock

In a world struggling with climate change, aluminium represents a greener choice. Car makers for instance, use more and more aluminium to lightweight their vehicles and curb emissions. Our new automotive line in Germany offers high-tech, innovative aluminium solutions to meet this fast-growing trend.

While it is near-impossible to imagine modern society without the car, we have all become acutely aware that the climate challenge demands from us all to intensify our efforts to reduce emissions and enable circular solutions and recycling. Replacing car parts made in steel with the same parts made in aluminium is an excellent initiative, as that would shave off about half the weight of a car door, roof or trunk lid, making the car lighter and more fuel-efficient in use.

Picture of aluminium coils

Our new automotive line in Germany will supply European car makers with advanced aluminium solutions. Photo: Axel Hartmann / pbr

 

On top of that, aluminium is infinitely recyclable by using only 5 % of the energy it took to make the metal the first time. That means it is good for the economy and great for the climate to bring aluminium back to the loop once our cars, beverage cans or consumer electronics have reached the end of the line. That is the low-carbon, circular economy in practice, with the lightweight, strong and corrosion-resistant aluminium in your car being reborn again and again.

Aluminium is infinetaly recyclable

Aluminium is infinetaly recyclable. Photo: Michael Rennertz / Hydro

200,000 tonnes light

In practice, it does take a whole lot more to lightweight our cars than ripping out parts of steel and replacing them with the same shape in aluminium.

You need advanced aluminium that is formable, strong and holds a certain surface quality.

A lot of research and development goes into developing heating, cooling and stretching procedures that makes single atoms in aluminium behave in a specific way to give the exact qualities car makers demand.

We are now able to produce the entire side panel of a car in a single piece of aluminium, rather than the traditional 7-8 pieces of steel which then must be welded together. Our groundbreaking single-panel solution is excellent to shape, delivers homogenous strength, saves time, cost and the environment in production, reduces emission in use and is fully recyclable when the car reaches its end of life – ready to get a new lease of life and be reincarnated as new products and applications.

Picture of car chassis

We deliver advanced aluminium for entire sidepanles in one piece. The steel equivalent requires 7-8 pieces to be welded together. Photo: iStock

Our new EUR 130 million automotive line in Grevenbroich, Germany, meets and exceeds these high standards, with a capacity of 150,000 tonnes per year of advanced car parts in aluminium to the European automotive industry. The new state-of-the-art production line sits beside two smaller automotive lines that takes our total capacity to 200,000 tonnes per year, making us the second-largest aluminium provider to the European automotive industry.

outside picture of automotive line 3

Our new state-of-the-art automotive line in Germany will help lightweight millions of cars each year. Photo: Axel Hartmann / pbr

With a current average of 150-200 kilos of aluminium in each new European-made car, it means that our new automotive line will contribute in lightweighting millions of cars each year.

Made in Europe!

Our automotive line may be all new and shiny, but it has taken decades of technological development, experience, ingenuity, in close cooperation with Europe’s world-leading automotive industry, to reach this level of cutting-edge development. It puts your new car on a diet, reduces emissions and shows the way towards the low-carbon, circular economy we all want and need.

Aluminium is a building block of modern society, which from our new automotive line in Germany comes with quality stamp “Made in Europe” – Mit Leichtigkeit!

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