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

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Adam Hewitt

i-SPACE: What We’ve Learnt this Year and What Next

Cathy Bell, Project Manager of material separation and sorting project, i-SPACE or Innovative Steel Processing Accelerating the Circular Economy, discusses the knowledge generated over the last 12 months and how this is being shaped into the scope for an industrial-scale research and development facility.


i-SPACE: What We’ve Learnt this Year and What Next p
Cathy Bell

Cathy Bell

A simplistic view of the current situation is that manufacturing industries implement a linear economy business model and are heavily reliant on virgin alloy to support value streams. The future desired state is for manufacturing industries to implement a circular economy business model, using mostly recycled raw materials, in the process reducing CO2 emissions, reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency.

i-SPACE partners believe there is merit to recycling waste, especially in the short term during the transition from linear to circular modes of operation. To facilitate this transition, greater knowledge and understanding are required of the collection, segregation, chemical analysis and storage of waste, or as it should be termed, “material resource”. One impediment is the gap in mid and high TRL (Technology Readiness Level) material sorting and segregation research facilities in the UK.

The i-SPACE team have been exploring the level of support within the steel, aluminium, glass and plastic manufacturing sectors for a fully functioning, industrial-scale end-of-life material separating and sorting facility that can be used by UK organisations to develop and upscale technology. Over 70 organisations were approached. The result being a significant number of Letters of Support for the proposed research and development facility. There were some particularly interesting discussions with automotive OEMs; “Design for disassembly to aid raw material quality and manufacturer’s responsibility at end-of-life”, were debated.

A conceptual building specification has been developed, including the use of old and/or new materials, as well as technology to lower CO2 during the in-use phase. Based on the information provided by potential stakeholders, the team were able to confirm the Product and Service offering this facility should deliver. There is a strong desire to generate and share material processing and recovery knowledge. The recovery of a specific material from a known or yet to be identified end-of-life component and access to equipment, expertise, samples or information were also popular requests.

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One of the more interesting activities conducted by the team was an investigation into the quality of fragmented steel scrap and turnings available on the market today. An objective and quantifiable characterisation process was implemented. This confirmed the presence of a small quantity of contamination (non-ferrous material) and a range of non-ferrous alloying elements, including chromium, nickel, molybdenum and copper. This indicated a lack of separation at grade level.

Depending on the grade of steel being manufactured, these alloys could be either beneficial or detrimental to mechanical properties or manufacturability.

The task of defining the scope, purpose and operating model for an industrial-scale end-of-life material separating and sorting facility is complete. Furthermore, support has been confirmed for a research and development resource. The next steps are to identify candidate locations, develop fully costed capital and operation expenditure plans, establish the customer base and secure funding. All of which are precursors to construction, installation and commissioning.

If you would like to understand more about i-SPACE, visit i-Space – Swansea University or email the project team

See Cathy’s previous article on ATF Professional here

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Adam Hewitt

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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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