Introducing the ALMA Project

Nine European organizations have announced their intention to collaborate and develop a more energy efficient and sustainable vehicle structure.

In  order  to  improve  the  efficiency  and  driving range of electric vehicles (EVs), the weight of the global vehicle must be reduced.

According to the low emissions mobility strategy, the European Union aims to have at least 30 million zero-emission vehicles on its roads by 2030. Measures to support jobs, growth, investment, and innovation are taken to tackle emissions from the transport sector.   

The ALMA project (Advanced Light Materials and Processes for the Eco-Design of Electric Vehicles) aims to improve the efficiency and driving range of electric vehicles by reducing the weight of the global vehicle. The  EU-funded  project  held  an  online  kickoff meeting  on  February  23-24,  in  which  nine partners  from  four  European  Union  countries participated.  This  consortium  for  a  European Commission  Horizon  2020  project seeks to harness the collective strengths to collaborate across disciplines.  

The participants

The  group  involves  five  market-orientated companies, three RTOs and one International association; the members of the consortium, led by CTAG – Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia (Spain), include: Arcelormittal Maizieres Research  (France),  Ford-Werke  (Germany), Innerspec Technologies Europe (Spain), BATZ S.  Coop.  (Spain), RESCOLL  (France), Fraunhofer  Gesellschaft  zur  Förderung  der Angewandten  Forschung  E.V.  (Germany),  Nederlandse  Organisatie  voor    Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk   Onderzoek   TNO (Netherlands)  and  ISWA  -  International  Solid Waste Association (Netherlands).  

Improving the EVs

In  order  to  improve  the  efficiency  and  driving range of electric vehicles (EVs), the weight of the global vehicle must be reduced. Furthermore, increasing environmental awareness and forthcoming stricter regulations demands  the  adoption  of  circular  economy principles across the entire vehicle life cycle.  

Raquel Ledo, Head of the Materials Innovation Area at CTAG and ALMA coordinator said: “This project  will  not  only  represent  an  important advance  in  the  state-of-the-art  for  improving electric vehicle efficiency, but also a shift in the conventional linear conception of the automotive value   chain   towards   the   adoption   of sustainability  and  circular  economy  as  core principles in this sector." 
This  is  a  three-year  project  which  aims  to achieve  innovation  and  sustainability. To respond to this challenge, ALMA will develop a novel battery electric vehicle (BEV) structure for a  passenger  car  with  45%  weight  reduction potential  compared  to  current  baseline  at affordable costs.  For  this  purpose,  ALMA  will  develop  a  multi-material  modular  platform  made  of  a combination of Advanced High Strength Steels (AHHS),  Advanced-SMC  and  steel-hybrid materials, characterized with multiscale model-based tools.   

The Circular Economy is at its core

ALMA will adopt  circular  economy  principles  from  early stages  through  the  application  of  eco-design strategies to create a novel BEV platform “made to be recycled”. For this purpose, it will use a structural  reversible  bonding  technology  to enable the separation of components at the end-of-life (EoL) for  repair  and  reuse.  A  ground-breaking  health  monitoring  system  based  on acoustic  emissions  will  be  integrated  in  the structure to detect and locate damage while in-service. Finally, efficient recycling and material recovery options will be analyzed to complete the circular loop. 

Previously published by ISWA