JLR’s REALITY Recycled Aluminum Project

Jaguar Land Rover Automotive plc is expanding the use of recycled aluminum in its car bodies to cut waste and reduce carbon emissions.

JLR's REALITY Recycled Aluminum Project

The £2 million project, called REALITY, has found a way to enable the closed-loop recycling of aluminum from end-of-life vehicles back into high-performance product forms for new vehicle body manufactured in the UK by Jaguar Land Rover.

REALITY builds on the REALCAR project allowing tens of thousands of tonnes of aluminum generated in the manufacturing process to be recycled and reused as a closed-loop. Aluminium from other sources, including end-of-life vehicles, can now be graded and ‘born again’ in the manufacture of new cars.

This unique ‘closed-loop’ automotive recycling system helps to further develop the circular economy model to deliver both financial and environmental benefits.

REALCAR began as a partnership between Jaguar Land Rover, Innovate UK, Novelis, Norton Aluminium, Stadco, Brunel University London, Zyomax and Innoval Technology. The original project and subsequent work with suppliers enabled Jaguar Land Rover to reclaim more than 75,000 tonnes of aluminum scrap and re-use it in the aluminum production process in 2016/17.

Implementing closed-loop aluminum recycling has involved cutting-edge chemistry, new infrastructure and investment of more than £13 million. It 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.

The project, part-funded by Innovate UK, has involved more than 10 press shops (Jaguar Land Rover and external suppliers) with aluminum being remelted by Novelis.

Simon Edmonds, Director of Manufacturing and Materials at Innovate UK, said: “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. These projects have been a model in terms of professional delivery of complex research and development.”

Work continues to will refine the process of turning aluminum from ‘end-of-life’ cars into new vehicles. The REALITY project will continue to deliver significant sustainability benefits, with aluminum recycling requiring up to 95 per cent less energy than primary aluminum production. 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.

The new project will consider advanced sorting technologies and evaluate the next generation alloys for greater recyclability. Innovations in the sorting and separating technologies applied to automotive end-of-life waste streams will also help other sectors, including packaging and construction. Resource recovery specialist Axion has joined the project to develop the sorting technologies for recovery of a high grade recycled aluminum.

The project partners are Jaguar Land Rover, Axion Recycling, Innovate UK, Novelis, Norton Aluminium, Brunel University London, WMG University of Warwick and Innoval Technology.

Note: Press release courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover North America.