Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is expanding its closed-loop recycling programs by implementing a new project to further develop its closed-loop recycling of aluminum from end-of-life vehicles back into new, high-performance products for its vehicles. The £2 million project, called REALITY, will consider advanced sorting technologies and evaluate the next generation aluminum alloys for greater recyclability.
JLR first launched a major program to increase its use of recycling aluminum content in its vehicles in 2008. The REALCAR (REcycled ALuminium CAR) initiative began as a partnership between JLR, Innovate UK, Novelis, Norton Aluminium, Innoval Technology, Brunel University London, and other partners, with the intention of delivering key environmental and commercial benefits for the next generation of JLR vehicles. REALCAR was established to create a closed-loop vehicle production model that recycles aluminum to create new materials and production systems.
As a result of the REALCAR project, Jaguar reclaimed more than 75,000 tonnes of aluminum scrap and re-use it in the aluminum production process in 2016/17. The project also resulted in the development of RC5754, a recycled aluminum-based alloy that can accept a higher percentage of the recovered scrap, which is currently used on aluminum-bodied Land Rover models.
A second iteration of the Initiative, REALCAR2, works to enable lightweight automotive body structures to be built using aluminum sheet derived from lower cost, energy efficient, recycled post consumer sources. Making use of innovative waste collection techniques and material production, the project produces a high recycled 5xxx series sheet alloy. The new 5xxx series aluminum alloy chemistry will be produced as full sized production coils, which requires evaluation of the rolling/production phase to produce sheet for full characterization.
The new REALITY project builds on the REALCAR project, expanding the research and development activities to the study of the collection and recycling of end-of-life vehicles.
The REALITY Project
The REALITY project is designed to deliver significant sustainability benefits, with aluminum recycling requiring up to 95% less energy than primary aluminum production. Implementing closed-loop aluminum recycling is driving a new culture that treats waste material as a high-value commodity. Quality will remain paramount, and the project has evaluated aluminum grades at chemistry and microstructure level to increase tolerance to recycling. This closed-loop automotive recycling system helps to further develop the circular economy model to deliver both financial and environmental benefits.
Innovations in the sorting and separating technologies applied to automotive end-of-life waste streams will also help other sectors, including packaging and construction.
Project partners for the REALITY project include JLR, Innovate UK, Novelis, Brunel University London, Axion Recycling, Norton Aluminium, WMG University of Warwick, and Innoval Technology. Innovate UK awarded a grant of £1.3 million to the project in 2016 as part of its Manufacturing and Materials Round One funding competition. Novelis will support alloy development, and Brunel University will provide their expertise in advanced technologies. Axion, a resource recovery specialist in the UK, has also joined the project to develop the sorting technologies for recovery of a high grade recycled aluminum.
“Innovate UK is proud of our support for the REALCAR programme, and this exciting latest stage of the project, 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,” said Simon Edmonds, director of Manufacturing and Materials at Innovate UK. “These projects have been a model in terms of professional delivery of complex research and development.”