SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (SGL ACF) operates through two companies based in Munich and Wackersdorf (Bavaria, Germany) and Moses Lake (Washington State, USA). The joint venture was founded for the exclusive supply of non-crimp carbon-fiber fabrics to the BMW Group. SGL Group contributes its know-how in high performance materials and its experience with carbon fiber based materials. As the only European carbon fiber and composite materials manufacturer, the company covers the entire value chain.
BMW Group contributes its know-how in lightweight automotive design and manufacturing. Two plants are currently under construction; one is located in Moses Lake and one in Wackersdorf. They will start supplying products for volume manufacture in 2013, with an initial capacity of 3,000 t.
The new facilities are an important element of both companies' strategy to advance manufacturing technologies for ultra-lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) for use in BMW Group's future vehicle concepts. Lightweight construction is a core aspect of sustainable mobility improving both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The first series vehicles with a significant amount of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics launched under the new sub-brand BMW i will be the so-called Megacity Vehicle or BMW i3, which is a battery-powered vehicle, and shortly afterwards the BMW i8, a sports car with plug-in hybrid drive.
Currently a state-of-the-art carbon fiber production plant is being built in Moses Lake on 60 acres of land. During the initial phase, US$ 100 million will be invested and 80 local jobs will be created. It will be the world's most cost efficient carbon fiber plant using the latest technologies. Similarly to the BMW Group and the SGL Group sustainability also has a substantial importance for the joint venture SGL ACF.
Hence one decisive criterion for the site selection was the possibility to use green energy. All the electric energy required for the carbon fiber production is provided solely by hydro-electric power. Furthermore, particular emphasis is put on sustainable architecture regarding the construction of the plant. Due to a diversity of measures the LEED Gold Standard will be reached which is highly recognised throughout the US.
In the first expansion stage at the Bavarian Wackersdorf Innovation Park, the joint venture SGL ACF is investing around €20 million and creates around 100 new jobs by 2013. On the existing area of around 10,000 m² the production line for several thousand tons of carbon-fiber fabrics per year is being established. This is the basic material for manufacturing CFRP parts and components at the BMW Group plant in Landshut, Bavaria.
In order to ensure the complete value chain is sustainable in Wackersdorf SGL ACF experts are developing processes to recycle carbon fibers and downstream composite materials. Amongst other uses, these recycled materials will be reused in vehicle components.