Jaguar Land Rover turns to recycled aluminium to cut manufacturing CO2
The firm’s £2m REALITY project is developing high-grade aluminium from a blend of waste cans, bottle tops, and scrap vehicles
Jaguar Land Rover has developed an innovative process enabling it to recycle old aluminium cans, bottle tops, and end-of-life vehicles into brand new, premium cars, in a move it estimates could cut CO2 emissions from its manufacturing by more than a quarter.
Co-funded by the government’s innovation agency Innovate UK, the process was developed in partnership with Brunel University as part of a £2m project called ‘REALITY’, the British carmaker announced on Friday.
Engineers mixed recycled aluminium parts with a reduced amount of primary aluminium to form a new prototype alloy, which it said matches the quality of the materials currently used by the firm in its car manufacturing.
The project involved establishing a system for the recovery of the automotive-grade aluminium used to manufacture its products, the firm explained. Vehicle scrap is typically exported overseas, but the project drew on new separation technology to upcycle material from old cars so it could be blended with aluminium waste, thereby reducing the need for virgin aluminium.
Jaguar Land Rover said it was using pre-production of its Jaguar I-PACE electric vehicle prototypes to test the process, estimating it could potentially reduce alloy production CO2 emissions by up to 26 per cent compared to the current automotive grade.
“This project has allowed us, for the first time, to recover premium automotive-grade aluminium from scrapped vehicles and re-use its unique properties,” said Gaëlle Guillaume, REALITY lead project manager at Jaguar Land Rover. “The potential of this on the production process is a reduction in CO2 impact as well as helping us re-use even more aluminium. As we move into an autonomous, connected and electrified future, with the potential of shared fleets being de-commissioned en masse, it could allow Jaguar Land Rover to engineer this closed loop recycling alloy into tight production schedules to further improve efficiency and environmental benefits.”
Post-consumer recycled aluminium is widely used in products such as cans, food trays, bottle tops, and foil, but is has only more recently started to be utilised in automotive manufacturing. Recycled aluminium uses around 90 per cent less energy to produce compared to raw material production, according to the Aluminium Association.
The REALITY project forms part of Jaguar Land Rover’s recently announced sustainability strategy Destination Zero, through which it is aiming to become a zero emissions, zero accidents, and zero congestion company.
By Toby Hill
Source: Business Green