Apr 21, 2021

Volvo uses circular business principles to low emissions

Georgia Wilson
2 min
Volvo Cars Electric Vehicle (EV)
Volvo Cars to use circular business principles to drive cost savings and reduce its CO2 emissions from 2025...

Supporting its long term goal to become a circular business by 2040, Volvo Cars aims to make annual savings of US$118.29mn and reductions of 2.5 million tonnes in carbon emissions from 2025 by harnessing circular business principles.

“Volvo Cars has one of the most ambitious climate plans in the car industry, and if we are to reach our goals, we need to embrace the circular economy. This requires us to rethink everything we do and how we do it. We put a strong focus on integrating sustainability into the way we think and work as a company, and we are making it as important as safety has always been to us,” said Anders Kärrberg, head of global sustainability at Volvo Cars. 

Becoming a circular business

In order to become a circular business by 2040, Volvo Cars believes that every part in its cars should be designed, developed and manufactured to be used and re-used, by itself or its suppliers.

Volvo cars wants to optimise its use f materials, components and cars, as well as eliminate waste in the process, by not only focusing on resource efficiency, but retaining the value created in materials and components for as long as possible during the life cycle. By doing this Volvo Cars will create value savings, new revenue streams, and lower its environmental impact.

Achievements to date

In 2020 40,000 parts were remanufactured by Volvo Cars - such as gearboxes and engines - saving almost 3,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. By 2025 Volvo Cars aims to more than double its remanufacturing operations. 

In addition, to ensure that valuable materials are kept in circulation, Volvo Cars recycled 95 per cent of its production waste in 2020, including 1760,000 tonnes of steel avoiding the generation of 640,000 tonnes of CO2.

Volvo Cars also became a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the world's leading circular economy network.

“We welcome Volvo Cars’ commitment to design, develop and manufacture their products to be used and re-used. It is very encouraging to see the link being made between circular solutions, business strategy and a reduction in carbon emissions. The circular economy offers companies a framework for viable long-term growth that also benefits society and the environment,” said Joe Murphy, network lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

New business models such as giving electric vehicle batteries a second life are important from a circular business perspective. By using batteries in energy storage applications outside of cars, new revenue streams and cost savings can be realised while also extending the batteries’ lifecycles.

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May 12, 2021

Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing

2 min
Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing

Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing


What is Ultium Cells LLC?

Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”

Who is Li-Cycle?

Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.

As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”

Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?

By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.

“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).

"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.

"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.

Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.

"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.

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