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

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25 years of Hensel Recycling – Precious metal recycling solutions for sustainably protecting our raw materials

2023 is a particularly auspicious year for Hensel Recycling, as the family business based in Aschaffenburg looks back at 25 eventful years and celebrates its anniversary.

 

25 years of Hensel Recycling – Precious metal recycling solutions for sustainably protecting our raw materials p
From left to right: Managers; Clemens Hensel, Thomas L. Hensel and Oliver Krestin

The success story started with the collection and dismantling spent automotive catalytic converters. Now, 25 years later, the company is a leading international provider for the recycling of materials containing precious metals. Along with classic automotive catalytic converters, in the meantime, the business’s portfolio also includes oxygen sensors, diesel particulate filters as well as truck and industrial catalytic converters, electronic scrap and, last but not least, fuel cells.

Continuous further development, flexibility, plenty of pioneering spirit as well as sustainable entrepreneurial action are key for long-term success in a market subject to technological trends, extensive statutory regulations as well as volatile precious metal prices.

Every day, more than 220 employees on five continents ensure that valuable precious metals such as platinum, palladium or rhodium are recovered in an environmentally sound manner and, with their efforts, make an important contribution to the continuous protection of strategically important raw materials.

25 years of Hensel Recycling – Precious metal recycling solutions for sustainably protecting our raw materials p twoR & D – prepared for the future

Mobility has changed dramatically, particularly in recent years. New drive systems have conquered the market or are currently advancing. In a few years, they will undoubtedly become indispensable on our roads and gradually replace the classic combustion engine and, therefore also, the conventional automotive catalytic converter.

For our business, this means addressing future markets at an early stage, and for this reason, Hensel Recycling is already equipping itself for the future and investing in a variety of research and development projects.

One of these undertakings is the EU-funded project BEST4Hy, which is developing recycling solutions for fuel cells. The goal is to develop a closed material cycle in which the raw materials recovered are then reused in new fuel cell stacks. The three-year project will continue to the end of this year, and the intermediate results are already indicating notable successes.

Recently the company reported about the successful recovery of platinum salt from used stacks; this recovered material is now undergoing testing for use in new fuel cells.

Raw material recovery from electronic waste

However, precious metals are not only used in automotive applications. These valuable raw materials are used particularly in electronic devices and components and must be recovered again efficiently and sustainably at the end of the service life.

For this reason, Hensel Recycling has added a further pillar to its business in this segment and, a few years ago, put into operation a corresponding processing plant. Here all kinds of components – CPUs, RAM or printed circuit boards – can be shredded and prepared for further refining so that the metals can then be used in new devices or components. Hensel Recycling always aims to achieve a maximum recovery quota providing not only significant additional value for customers but also making a sustainable contribution to the protection of our environment.

25 years of Hensel Recycling – Precious metal recycling solutions for sustainably protecting our raw materials p threeFocusing on sustainability

Particularly in the last 25 years, the recycling of precious metals has become increasingly important, and in future, it will also play a leading role in the supply of critical raw materials. Not least because availability in mines continues to drop, and the mining of precious metals is becoming increasingly costly.

Conversely, recycling processes are becoming more efficient. Compared to the situation at the outset of recycling, significantly fewer chemicals and less energy are now required to separate the individual elements. Better measuring technology makes possible the specific recovery of metals.

Depending on the metal, recycling is around 75–95 % better for the environment than mining. And if political crises occur in mining countries, supply with secondary raw materials is an important stabilising factor for industrial businesses. At Hensel Recycling alone, compared to mining, around 150,000 tonnes of CO2 are saved per year by recycling platinum group metals.

Sustainability is not wishful thinking but is always part of the corporate philosophy at Hensel Recycling. As a group, we consider ourselves bound by the sustainability goals of the United Nations. As such, the fair utilisation of resources, equitable growth, and participation, as well as a liveable, fair and viable society, are at the focus of our actions. And our clear goal for 2030 is to become climate neutral.

Find out more about Hensel Recycling here

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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 www.salvagemarket.co.uk 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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