Lithium is essential for electric vehicle batteries. Light metal prices have risen significantly in recent years. In addition, mining is energy intensive and uses a lot of water. BMW wants to make its lithium supply more sustainable and is investing in Mangrove Lithium through its venture capital subsidiary BMW i Ventures. The Canadian company specializes in refining, i.e. refining of the resulting light metal.
Mangrove Lithium technology can convert virgin and recycled raw lithium directly into battery material through an electrochemical process. It can then be used in any type of lithium-ion battery. “This reduces production costs and consumes significantly less energy, resulting in a reduction in CO2 emissions”, says BMW.
Funds raised in the latest funding round will be used to accelerate the launch of the first commercial plant.
Last year, BMW acquired a stake in Lilac Solutions through BMW i Ventures, which is developing a more gentle lithium recovery process. For this purpose, an ion exchanger is used, which is designed to make the decomposition of salt water deposits from brine more efficient, cheap and sustainable. The Mangrove technology can be combined with the Lilac Solutions process. In this way, a closed loop can be created. Waste from one process is one of the main consumables of another.
BMW wants to become the most sustainable manufacturer in its segment. The long-term goal is a circular economy, for which the efficiency of the use of resources in production extends over the entire life cycle of the proposed vehicles. The group demonstrated what is possible here last year with the BMW i Vision Circular study: a car optimized for closed material cycles achieves a quota of 100% recycled materials and 100% recyclability.