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Trimet and Nexans Develop Recycled Alloy for Electrical Cable

reels of aluminum wire© by Denis Morel, Nexans

Trimet Aluminium SE, an aluminum producer headquartered in Essen, Germany, is working with Nexans, a global cable and optical fiber company headquartered in Paris, France, to improve the eco-balance of power cables. In a joint breakthrough development project, the two companies have developed a material with recycled aluminum content for the production of aluminum rod used in electrical cables.

“Our project shows that recycling offers enormous potential to reduce CO2 emissions,” said Vincent Dessale, chief operating officer at Nexans. “I am proud that Nexans can now offer its customers a product that combines superior quality while ensuring a higher level of circular economy. Nexans thus pursues its strategy to constantly look for new sources of value for its customers. ”

Until now, power cables have been manufactured exclusively using primary aluminum. In comparison, melting and recycling of aluminum scrap requires only a fraction of the energy needed to produce primary aluminum. However, recycled aluminum often contains impurities that adversely affect the material’s specific properties. The collaborative project between Nexans and Trimet aimed to coordinate optimized raw material supply and innovative material development.

For example, Nexans has refined the sorting of aluminum scrap at its production sites in Europe through RecyCâbles, a joint venture between Nexans and Suez, while gearing the collection of scrap to specifically support the recycling of electrical cables. Meanwhile, Trimet has closed the material cycle with its recycling concept and has used the scrap obtained from RecyCâbles to develop a high-quality alloy that meets the full range of quality requirements for mechanical and electrical performance, including conductivity. At the same time, this project has reduced the carbon footprint of the product.

“Recycling is an important component of sustainable aluminum production for us,” noted Philipp Schlüter. “The development of high-quality alloys with the smallest possible carbon footprint makes a significant contribution to this.”

Nexans plans to maximize the use of aluminum rod with recycled aluminum content in 2023. This will enable the company to meet its customers’ growing demand for products with a favorable eco-balance. For its part, Trimet is expanding its range of recycled products in the aluminum wire sector. In so doing, the materials specialist is building on its commitment to decarbonize production while making a further contribution to the energy transition.

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