The BMW Group pilots flexible hydrogen-capable burners in its paintshop at BMW Group Plant Leipzig and creates eight new production lines for e-components.
Leipzig. BMW Group Plant Leipzig is the first car plant in the world to pilot a newly developed burner technology in its paintshop. In addition to natural gas, the site now also uses green hydrogen. The new technology meets the feasibility requirements to reduce CO2 emissions from the intensive use of natural gas, a fossil fuel. “This is a technological breakthrough. It underscores our innovativeness and our determination to make production ever more sustainable”, says Milan Nedeljković, Board Member for Production at BMW AG.
Reducing CO2 emissions is one of the central aims of the BMW iFACTORY with its LEAN. GREEN. DIGITAL approach. While sustainability, optimum use of resources and circularity are the focus of GREEN, the LEAN strand of the strategy works for efficient, precise and highly flexible production. DIGITAL makes effective use of digitalisation in data science, artificial intelligence and virtualisation.
The BMW Group aims to become completely climate-neutral by 2050, thereby supporting the Paris Climate Agreement and its target of a maximum of 1.5 degrees of global warming.
The first fuel-flexible hydrogen-capable burner for paint dryers has recently been launched in Leipzig. The special feature of the system is that it can run on hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4) or a mixture of the two. It can also switch between fuels while in operation. Initially, it will run in trial operations. The innovative fuel-flexible burner system was developed in collaboration with the Bremen-based company Saacke, and with the Fraunhofer Institute IFF in Magdeburg supporting the integration of the safety concept.
E-component production ramped up
The BMW Group also demonstrates commitment to lower CO2 emissions by investing in electrification: the company is expanding its capacities for e-component production at the Leipzig Plant by eight production lines until 2024. The announcement was made on 20 October at the Green Day in BMW Group Plant Leipzig. Over the next year, the Plant’s two existing battery module lines will be complemented by a further line plus five cell coating lines. Additionally, BMW will build two new high-voltage battery assembly lines in 2024. The batteries they make will power models such as the fully electric version of the MINI Countryman, which will also be built in Leipzig.
“The BMW Group has always been a pioneer in the transformation to electric mobility,” said Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production, “and we intend to remain the leader in the future. Plant Leipzig will be of special importance in this regard, as it’s the birthplace of the BMW i3.” From 2013 to the summer of 2022, Leipzig manufactured more than 250,000 fully electric BMW i3 vehicles and over 20,000 plug-in hybrid BMW i8 sports cars. The freed-up spaces and the skills of its employees will now be used to produce e-components. More than 700 production staff are already working in battery component production at Plant Leipzig, rising to more than 1,000 by 2024.“