Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling

Adam Hewitt

i-SPACE: Maximising scrap from end-of-life components

Cathy Bell, Project Manager of material separation and sorting project, i-SPACE or INNOVATIVE STEEL PROCESSING ACCELERATING THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY, discusses this and its benefits regarding end of life steel components, including steel from end of life vehicles.


i-SPACE: Maximising scrap from end-of-life components p
Cathy Bell

Steel is a highly engineered product capable of serving a wide range of applications by developing specified physical properties. Properties are derived through the close control of chemical analysis and thermomechanical processing. Steelmaking is a carbon-intensive process; however, the choice of steelmaking method and, therefore, raw material influences the extent of carbon emissions generated during liquid steelmaking. There are several methods of manufacturing liquid steel but only two sources of raw material. These are iron ore mined from the earth’s crust and recycled ferrous metal (steel scrap), including end-of-life vehicles. Steelmaking methods based wholly or partly on the conversion of steel scrap generate much lower carbon emissions compared to manufacturing from iron ore.

i-SPACE: Maximising scrap from end-of-life components f one

The UK currently produces approximately 10 million tonnes of steel scrap per annum; however, a significant volume of this domestically arising raw material is exported to non-UK steelmakers. The buoyant export economy is largely driven by market forces; however, a contributory factor is the fact that recycling practices leave much to be desired. For steel scrap to be a suitable raw material for steelmaking, it must be free from contamination (by other materials and organic matter), have an appropriate chemical analysis (both in terms of iron content and other elements) and be an appropriate size (this influences density in the melting furnace).

Steel scrap arises from four main sources, namely, 1) during the manufacture of cast and rolled products (i.e., steelmaking scrap), 2) during the manufacture of components and finished goods (i.e., fabrication, assembly and construction scrap), 3) demolition both on large and small scale and 4) end-of-life components. The largest source by volume is end-of-life components, both discrete objects (e.g., rails, columns, chains and tubes) and finished goods containing steel components (e.g., cars, washing machines, lawnmowers and printers). The separation of ferrous metal (steel), non-ferrous metal and non-metal plus the sorting of different types of ferrous metal by chemical analysis is essential to ensure the steelmaker receives raw material suitable for the manufacture of a grade with defined chemical analysis. It is important to note that during the separation and sorting of ferrous metal from end-of-life components, the capture and recycling of other materials are often minimal.  Separation and sorting of any and all materials (ferrous metal, non-ferrous metal and non-metal) is an integral part of a commercially and ecologically sustainable future. 

INNOVATIVE STEEL PROCESSING ACCELERATING THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY, or “i-SPACE” is a WEFO ERDF funded project that will outline in a business case the resources required to set up and operate a state-of-the-art material separation and sorting Pilot Plant designed to process end-of-life components. The vision is to develop a technically and commercially viable source of raw material from domestically arising end-of-life components, and for this reclaimed material to re-enter the UK Steel Industry and other UK Foundation Industries.  Simultaneously, reducing the export of raw material, eliminating waste destined for landfill and downcycling (manufacture into lower grade product). In parallel to the commercial activities, there is a desire to establish a core group of expertise to ensure reclaimed material is suitable for re-entry into manufacturing supply chains.

i-SPACE is a collaboration between Swansea University and UK Steelmakers.  However, whilst developing the business case, it is hoped the number of interested parties will expand to include additional steelmakers, representatives from the wider Steelmaking supply chain and other Foundation Industries. The expected benefits from i-SPACE are:

  • increased knowledge within the steelmaking community of scrap separation and sorting techniques applicable to end-of-life components,
  • increased knowledge regarding the availability and suitability of end-of-life steel scrap for grades manufactured by UK steelmakers,
  • create demand within the UK for domestically arising steel scrap,
  • explore commercial outlets for non-ferrous metals and non-metals generated by the separation process,
  • raise the profile of the concept of design for recycling and material reclamation at end-of-life.

For further information visit Home – Flexis | Flexis

i-SPACE: Maximising scrap from end-of-life components p two re      i-SPACE: Maximising scrap from end-of-life components p three


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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