Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is continuing to develop its REALITY project, its closed-loop recycling program that aims to recover aluminum from existing JLR vehicles and reform it into high grade aluminum for new vehicles. The closed-loop project is being co-funded by Innovate UK, a government funded agency that helps UK companies fund research and development for innovative projects that benefit economic and production growth for the country.
According to the car company, they are committed to reducing CO2 emissions and have already reduced global CO2 emissions for its vehicle manufacturing operations by 46% per vehicle. When at full-capacity REALITY is expected to reduce the CO2 impact of JLR’s production, while also lowering the amount of primary aluminum used to produce vehicles.
Currently, the process is in a testing phase, using early pre-production Jaguar I-PACE prototypes. (The I-PACE was launched in 2018 with a lightweight aluminum architecture designed to take full advantage of its smart electric powertrain.) The testing phase involves the removal of the batteries from the prototypes, which enter into a different recycling process (which JLR is creating). The aluminum scrap from the vehicles is then sorted using high-tech sensors by Axion. After separation, the scrap is melted and reformed. The recycled aluminum undergoes strength and quality tests by scientists at Brunel University to ensure that the metal meets the required mechanical ranges to be used in body panels in Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.
JLR has set a recent record of environmentally conscious vehicle production. According to the company, from 2013-2019, “300,000 tonnes of closed-loop scrap have been processed back into the brand’s lightweight aluminum intensive architecture, across all vehicle lines including [the] XE”. The Jaguar XE was the first vehicle to use the aluminum alloy grade RC5754, which is made up of 75% recycled aluminum for its body panels. Additionally, half of the XE’s body structure is composed of aluminum alloys containing recycled aluminum from a different closed-loop manufacturing system located at JLR’s UK and Slovakia facilities.
“More than a million cars are crushed every year in the UK and this pioneering project affords us a real opportunity to give some of them a second life,” said Gaëlle Guillame, lead project manager of REALITY at JLR. “Aluminum is a valuable material and a key component in our manufacturing process and as such we’re committed to ensuring our use of it is as responsible as possible.”