JLR makes closed-loop aluminium recycling in its cars a REALITY

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Automotive is expanding the use of recycled aluminium in its car bodies to cut waste and reduce carbon emissions. The £2 million project, called REALITY, has found a way to enable the closed-loop recycling of aluminium from end-of-life vehicles back into high-performance product forms for new vehicle bodies manufactured in the UK by JLR.

REALITY builds on the REALCAR project allowing tens of thousands of tonnes of aluminium generated in the manufacturing process to be recycled and reused as a closed-loop. Aluminium from other sources, including end-of-life vehicles, can now be graded and ‘born again’ in the manufacture of new cars.

REALCAR began as a partnership between JLR, Innovate UK, Novelis, Norton Aluminium, Stadco, Brunel University London, Zyomax and Innoval Technology. The original project and subsequent work with suppliers enabled JLR to reclaim more than 75,000 tonnes of aluminium scrap and re-use it in the aluminium production process in 2016/17.

Implementing closed-loop aluminium recycling has involved cutting-edge chemistry, new infrastructure and investment of more than £13 million. Quality will remain paramount, and the project has evaluated aluminium grades at chemistry and microstructure level to increase tolerance to recycling.

Simon Edmonds, director of manufacturing and materials at Innovate UK, said: “REALITY is another excellent example of collaboration between large and small businesses in the supply chain, supporting them to scale up and become more productive. These projects have been a model in terms of professional delivery of complex research and development."

The REALITY project will continue to deliver significant sustainability benefits, with aluminium recycling requiring up to 95% less energy than primary aluminium production.

The project will also consider advanced sorting technologies and evaluate the next generation aluminium alloys for greater recyclability. Innovations in the sorting and separating technologies applied to automotive end-of-life waste streams will also help other sectors, including packaging and construction. Axion Recycling has joined the project to develop these sorting technologies. The project partners are JLR, Axion Recycling, Innovate UK, Novelis, Norton Aluminium, Brunel University London, WMG University of Warwick and Innoval Technology.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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