Härkingen/Switzerland, 2023/03/14 – As part of its PLANBLUE sustainability strategy, the RONAL GROUP has set itself the goal of a 50% reduction in its CO2 emissions in manufacturing by 2030, and of completely CO2-neutral production of all its wheels by 2050. The German plant in Landau is taking a leading role here, producing the first light-alloy wheels made of 100% secondary aluminum for the new all-electric MINI Cooper SE Convertible.
The production of primary aluminum is an energy-intensive process that makes an impact on the environment: The carbon balance sheet of the RONAL GROUP shows that 74% of the CO2 generation is attributable to aluminum procurement. The company sources 100% of its aluminum from members of the Aluminum Steward Initiative (ASI); and 63% of the aluminum it purchases is proven to be produced using renewable energy. The wheel manufacturer has also been ASI Performance Standard certified since September 2022.
In addition, the RONAL GROUP has been working for years to expand its sustainable resources and increase the proportion of recycled materials in its manufacturing operations, so as to continuously reduce the company’s ecological footprint. The RONAL GROUP production plant in Landau, Germany, intends to obtain approval from all its OEM customers for the use of secondary aluminum by mid-year, so as to halve its CO2 footprint by the end of the year.
In cooperation with the car manufacturer MINI, the RONAL GROUP has now produced the world’s first light-alloy wheels made of 100% secondary aluminum for use on a vehicle in series production. The new MINI Cooper SE Convertible is equipped with wheels made of 40% pre-consumer and 60% post-consumer material.
Pre-consumer scrap includes aluminum waste such as chips generated in production, which must be processed in an intermediate step before they can be fed back into the smelting process. They must be washed and dried before they can be used again.
The post-consumer aluminum is supplied by the company Eccomelt. The quality of this is the same as that of primary aluminum, and it currently exhibits the best CO2 footprint on the market. By using recycled material, the CO2e emissions in production can be reduced by up to 75%. At the end of its life, the alloy wheel of the MINI Cooper SE Convertible can itself be recycled to make a new wheel.
The RONAL GROUP is also pursuing the idea of the circular economy – both in cooperation with its OEM customers and in the development of its own products for the aftermarket. “With the RONAL R70-blue, at the end of 2020 we already launched the first CO2-neutral wheel with recycled aluminum content on to the market . It consists of a majority of pre-consumer and post-consumer material as well as primary aluminum produced from renewable energy sources,” says Martin Wyss, head of the RONAL-Re (RONAL Aluminum Wheel Recycling) project. The project was launched at RONAL GROUP in March 2021 and aims to replace as much primary aluminum as possible with recycled aluminum in wheel production by 2030. “We can conserve valuable resources by minimizing the use of primary materials and replacing them with recycled materials of equally high quality. We demonstrate the feasibility of this in terms of the circular economy both with our RONAL R70-blue and with the wheels made of 100% secondary aluminum that we produce for the MINI Cooper SE Convertible.”
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 For those greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be avoided, a complete CO2 offset is made and the emissions are compensated with a Gold Standard certified project.
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Copyright image MINI Cooper SE Cabrio: BMW Group
Copyright graphic: RONAL GROUP