BMW Group invests in innovative method for efficient and sustainable lithium extraction

Munich. The BMW Group is stepping up its expansion of
electromobility and will be releasing about ten million fully-electric
vehicles onto the roads over the next ten years or so. By 2030, at
least half the BMW Group’s global sales are expected to come from
fully-electric vehicles. This will also increase the need for lithium,
an important raw material for production of battery cells.

To promote environmentally-friendly, resource-efficient extraction of
lithium, the BMW Group is investing, through its venture capital fund,
BMW i Ventures, in an innovative process developed by US startup Lilac
Solutions. Lilac Solutions has developed and patented an ion exchange
technology that will significantly improve efficiency, costs and
sustainability by extracting lithium from brine resources, which are
natural deposits of salt water.

“Innovative technologies provide better, more sustainable and more
efficient access to raw materials. By investing in startups, we are
speeding up development of new technologies, stimulating competition
and providing impetus that will make it easier for young companies to
access the market,” said Wolfgang Obermaier, Senior Vice President
Indirect Goods and Services, Raw Materials, Production Partners at the
BMW Group. “By investing in Lilac Solutions, we are supporting
technological progress in the field of lithium extraction, with a
focus on responsible and sustainable methods.”

Lilac Solutions has developed a new ion exchange technology to make
mining lithium from brine resources more efficient and cost-effective.
The company seeks to significantly reduce environmental impact
compared to conventional methods, while, at the same time, protecting
local communities and ecosystems. The technology has already been
proven in initial field pilots and must now demonstrate that it can be
scaled and industrialised in the mid-term. The process could then be
used with brines worldwide, even if they have a low lithium content.


BMW Group provides battery cell manufacturers with responsibly
extracted lithium

The BMW Group has made sustainability and resource efficiency central
to the company’s strategic direction. A key aspect here is compliance
with environmental and social standards in the supply chain.
Eliminating infringements of human rights and environmental standards
presents a particular challenge in the case of critical raw materials
– as is the case with lithium. For this raw material, BMW Group
Purchasing has implemented therefore additional measures and is
sourcing lithium directly from the mines and making it available to
battery cell suppliers. In this way, the company creates complete
transparency about the origin and mining methods of the material.