23/03/2022 - ArcelorMittal is an active partner in the ambitious Advanced Light Materials and Processes for the Eco-Design of Electric Vehicles (ALMA) project. ALMA aims to transform electrical vehicle (EV) production from a linear to a circular model. Key to achieving this goal are weight optimization, the consideration of recyclability early in the vehicle design phase, and devising creative end-of-life (EOL) solutions which can be achieved at an affordable cost. ArcelorMittal will develop new products with new properties to further lightweight the body-in-white (BIW). ArcelorMittal will also consult on the design of the BIW to maximize the technical of these grades.
“ALMA represents an important advance in improving electric vehicle efficiency, but it also represents a shift in the conventional linear concept of the automotive value chain. With ALMA, we are putting sustainability and circular economy principles at the core of the mobility sector.”
Raquel Ledo, ALMA coordinator and Head of Material Innovation at CTAG
ALMA is being coordinated by the Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia (CTAG) and has received funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. Partners in the project include ArcelorMittal Global R&D, Ford Germany, and six other partners from the EV industry. A strong and international group of scientists, researchers, and engineers are also involved. Together the partners will develop a more energy-efficient and sustainable vehicle structure. ArcelorMittal and its partners hope to redesign the future of e-mobility using innovative and circular automotive solutions.
“Sustainability is key to future mobility and steel plays a major role.” notes Joël Wilsius, Project Leader for Automotive Steel Solution Design at ArcelorMittal. “That’s because steel offers many sustainability benefits. Using the latest steels, the overall weight of the vehicle can be reduced to cut CO2 emissions over its life. Using less steel also avoids emissions from steel production. And thanks to its high recyclability, steel makes a significant contribution to the vehicle’s EOL recycling.”
“We believe that the strength of ALMA lies in its cooperative approach to creating sustainable mobility solutions which benefit both people and the planet. We believe that it is our responsibility to continue finding innovative and sustainable steel solutions for mobility.”
Jérôme Favero, Head of Automotive Steel Solutions at ArcelorMittal Global R&D
ArcelorMittal’s main motivation to be part of ALMA is the opportunity to make electric vehicles more sustainable, lighter, and efficient through an eco-design approach using advanced materials. ArcelorMittal’s research portfolio is oriented to developing new steel grades with enhanced and unmatched properties. These new grades will offer vehicle designers new perspectives on part integration and weight reduction and create a more sustainable car.
ArcelorMittal’s participation in ALMA will lead to significant benefits for society. Using less steel to produce lighter cars represents a fundamental change in the way OEMs create vehicles. The project’s innovations will offer sustainable mobility, but they will also be applicable to other sectors. This is consistent with other ArcelorMittal initiatives such as XCarb®.
ALMA is a three-year project which began in February 2021 with the aim of achieving innovation and sustainability in electric mobility. The project’s goals include:
To achieve these goals, ArcelorMittal is developing a multi-material modular platform made from a combination of advanced high strength steels (AHSS), advanced sheet moulding compounds (SMCs), and steel-hybrid materials. ArcelorMittal is also providing engineering support to Ford and CTAG to help them identify key applications in the vehicles which can be repaired and/or reused.
The platform will be fully recyclable at EOL. Key to this is the ability to separate the various components at the end-of-life for repair and reuse. To achieve this, ALMA uses a structural, but reversible, bonding technology. Efficient recycling and material recovery options for the EOL parts will be analysed to complete the circular loop.
A ground-breaking vehicle-health monitoring system will be integrated into the structure. Using acoustic emissions, the system will be able to detect and locate damage while the EV is in service.