ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, and KIRCHHOFF Automotive, which develops and produces complex metal and hybrid structures for body-in-white and chassis, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which focusses on developing low carbon-emissions steel for cars and trucks.
The MoU was signed on 2 March 2023 during a ceremony in KIRCHHOFF Automotive’s plant in Iserlohn, Germany, attended by J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff, CEO of KIRCHHOFF Automotive, and Yves Koeberlé, CEO, ArcelorMittal Europe - Flat Products.
The agreement covers a number of different areas of development and steel solutions, but its principal focus is to strengthen the two companies’ collaboration on sustainability topics. This includes a project to develop and test the use of ArcelorMittal’s XCarb® recycled and renewably produced Usibor® 1500 (which is made with recycled steel and 100% renewable electricity) in the high-strength parts that KIRCHHOFF Automotive supplies to leading OEMs in Europe, Asia, and North America.
ArcelorMittal Europe - Flat Products began manufacturing XCarb® recycled and renewably produced steel at its Sestao plant in Spain more than a year ago, marking the beginning of a new era for the production of flat steel by allowing customers to buy steel with a reduced CO2 impact. Taking the example of Usibor® 1500 with XCarb® recycled and renewably produced substrate, on a lifecycle basis this product has a 70% lower CO2 footprint compared with the same product made via a conventional blast furnace production process.
The XCarb® product family will expand as the company invests in the decarbonisation of the steelmaking process across Europe, in line with its target to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% by 2030, and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The European Commission has recently given its approval for member state funding for ArcelorMittal plans in Hamburg (Germany) and Gijon (Spain). ArcelorMittal Europe - Flat products is awaiting approval for similar investments in Belgium, France and Germany.
Speaking at the ceremony, Wolfgang Kirchhoff commented: “I am delighted that, together with the world's leading steel producer, ArcelorMittal, we will be taking a further and decisive step toward more sustainable mobility. With our body-in-white solutions, we ensure safe mobility, thanks in particular to the high strength of special steel grades. The future use of low carbon-emissions steel will enable us to make production significantly more sustainable, as 90% of our carbon footprint is currently determined by the use of conventionally produced steel and aluminium. Based on the orders for upcoming vehicle generations from international car manufacturers, we see that the demand for such safe and sustainable body-in-white parts will increase strongly in the coming years”.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Yves Koeberlé said: “KIRCHHOFF Automotive is a widely respected company both here in Germany, and worldwide, so ArcelorMittal Europe - Flat Products is very pleased to have further strengthened our relationship with them through the signing of the MoU today. The agreement will guide the work we are doing to expand the use of low carbon-emissions steel in complex, highly engineered vehicle parts. We will also work with them on other vital sustainability topics as a result of the MoU, specifically steel’s role in the circular economy”.
In 2022, KIRCHHOFF Automotive began a process of determining the location of greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain (Scope 3), both upstream at suppliers and downstream at customers.
The company also has an overall goal to establish a high level of sustainability in the automotive industry’s supply chains which is also reflected by the fact that KIRCHHOFF Automotive is one of the founding members of the Association “Responsible Supply Chain Initiative RSCI e. V.”
KIRCHHOFF Automotive has a presence across Europe, Asia and North America, with 27 plants in 11 countries.
XCarb® is a trademark registered by ArcelorMittal that represents the clear path taken by the company towards the decarbonisation of the steel production process and the ambitious goal of zero emissions by 2050.
XCarb® will ultimately bring together all of ArcelorMittal’s reduced, low and zero-carbon products and steelmaking activities, as well as wider initiatives and green innovation projects, into a single effort focused on achieving demonstrable progress towards carbon neutral steel.
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KIRCHHOFF Automotive offers body solutions that make tomorrow's mobility safe. Innovative and economical lightweight products ensure that people are optimally protected in the event of an accident.
As a supplier to the automotive industry, KIRCHHOFF Automotive develops and produces complex metal and hybrid structures for body-in-white and chassis that are lightweight, economical and crash-proof. Because the vehicles of the future - from electric to autonomous - also need bodies that ensure the greatest possible safety for all those involved in an accident in the event of an emergency.
As a global player, KIRCHHOFF Automotive offers their customers in Europe, Asia and North America comprehensive know-how in the areas of economical lightweight construction and crash performance.
The family-owned company, which has existed since 1785, is part of today's KIRCHHOFF Group, which is made up of the Automotive, Ecotec, Mobility and WITTE Tools divisions. With more than 8,000 employees and 27 production plants in 11 countries, KIRCHHOFF Automotive represents the largest division in the group.