CAKE and Vattenfall have united to build the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever by 2025. In this way, they want to decarbonize the supply chain of CAKE’s off-road electric motorcycle, the Kalk OR. Aluminium accounts for a quarter of the total weight of the motorcycle and it represents 34% of the carbon emissions released in producing the bike. As a consequence, aluminium is the challenge in the decarbonizing journey.
Aluminium is unsurprisingly the backbone of the automotive industry in many applications. This is the case not only because of its weight but also because it is non-magnetic. Especially for CAKE’s designs, it accounts for up to 25% of the weight of the Kalk OR. It is employed in the design because it is relatively light, and it makes up a bigger proportion of the bike’s total volume.
Nevertheless, there are always drawbacks to using certain materials. For example, in the case of aluminium, it is the number of emissions released throughout its value chain. The greenhouse gas emissions for the production of aluminium come mostly from energy-intensive production processes. This makes the source of the electricity used in that process the most significant factor behind the size of its carbon footprint.
One of the ways to solve this issue is to use recycled aluminium. It requires only 5% of the original energy consumption to produce. In addition, countries such as Norway and Sweden process metal using clean energy. There more than 95% of the power produced comes from fossil-free sources. Therefore, the emissions from aluminium production would be lowered.
Currently, the CAKE Kalk Or is made mostly of aluminium processes in China. The carbon emissions from this metal are 16.6 kg CO2e per kg of aluminium. To succeed in reducing this number close to 0 by 2025, the project will use decarbonized aluminium to minimize the footprint in the Kalk OR.
Yet, there are challenges in using recycled aluminium in high-performance motorcycles such as the Kalk OR. Aluminium is often alloyed with other metals and non-metals. This allows it to take on different properties. Currently, the CAKE Kalk OR has been using three specific types of alloys. So far CAKE has identified the aluminium alloys which will be available before 2025.
To achieve this CAKE has chosen to collaborate with Hydro. Being a Norway-based aluminium company, they have been on the journey to decarbonize aluminium production and become a net-zero company. Achieving this is based on three pathways: recycling of post-consumer scrap with decarbonized operations, carbon capture and storage for existing primary aluminium smelters, and developing Hydro’s technology for greenfield aluminium plants.