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Axion joins Jaguar Land Rover’s recycled aluminium project

Resource recovery specialist Axion Recycling is joining Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in its ongoing project to increase recycled aluminium content in new cars.

The REALITY project (REcycled ALuminium Through Innovative TechnologY) was set up in 2017 and will run for three years, following the success of the original REALCAR (REcycled ALuminium CAR) scheme, created in 2008. The REALCAR scheme reclaimed over 75,000 tonnes of aluminium from its end-of-life vehicles in 2016/17 to be reused in new vehicles, and the REALITY project seeks to build on this progress.

Aluminium is infinitely recyclable, and the process of recycling the used alloys in a closed-loop system requires up to 95 per cent less energy than producing the metal from scratch, vastly reducing waste and emissions.Axion joins Jaguar Land Rover’s recycled aluminium project

Research by JLR and its partners has focused on methods of recovering the highest quality material, and the £2 million REALITY project aims to develop and refine techniques for separating the most valuable aluminium alloys from the scrap metal, which is where Axion comes in. The resource recovery company will be bolstering research into advanced, sensor-based sorting technologies, separating different aluminium alloys from each other as well as into their composite metals, including zinc, copper and brass.

Richard McKinlay, Axion’s Head of Circular Economy, explained: “These extracted aluminium alloys will also be extensively tested to assess their suitability for reuse in new vehicles. If we can extract the right allows and reuse them in the right components, then we will have created a closed-loop value chain for automotive aluminium.”

He continued: “This ground-breaking research will contribute towards the development of the circular economy for the automotive sector and enhanced environmental performance. Innovations in the sorting and separating technologies applied to automotive end-of-life waste streams will also help other sectors, including packaging and construction.”

In 2016, the REALITY project received £1.3 million from Innovate UK, an executive non-departmental funding group supporting innovation in science and technology. Alongside Axion, JLR is working in collaboration with Norton Aluminium, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Innoval Technology, Brunel University and Novelis.

Aluminium rolling and recycling company Novelis has partnered with JLR since the REALCAR project in 2008, and is responsible for re-melting the scrap separated in more than 10 press shops into recycled aluminium sheets which are then used on the Jaguar XE and XJ models. 

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