Every year many vehicles are officially taken out of circulation. The tendency is towards a decrease in their average working life. A vehicle contains about 20 litres of extractable liquids. Each litre of untreated oil causes the pollution of 3,434 litres of water. Some top of the range cars contain approximately 25 kg of high quality glass. About 150 bottles can be manufactured from the lateral windows. Currently the only materials recycled are the metal parts and the breaker is responsible for separating these into steel or aluminium, etc.
The main goal of the project was to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of the integral management of End of Life Vehicles (ELVs). The project would involve all the players in order to guarantee the disposal and management of the vehicle waste, reaching recycling and reutilization levels of 85%. The project would propose an alternative system for the management of ELVs. This would include an area for the temporary storage of vehicles (with impermeable ground), tools for the storage of materials and waste, and a production line for dismantling vehicles in a factory building where all the operations necessary for decontamination and recycling would be carried out. The results of the project would go to prove that the levels of recycling, reusing and recovery established by the European Directive (Council Directive 2000/53/CE of the 18th September 2000 on End-of-Life Vehicles) are possible to achieve.
- A decontamination system prototype was developed.
- A system called ECOAUTO SR15 was developed and patented. It performs a fast and clean extraction of all the liquids from ELVs through a compressed–air system. In addition to this, it allows the extraction of other dangerous waste such as batteries, air conditioning gas and catalytic converters, the extraction of wheels and even airbags.
- The selective dismantling (conveyor) was designed but was not built.
- Six hundred vehicles were decontaminated over a period of nine months (0.01% of the vehicles deregistered in Spain), obtaining an average weight of 1,144 kg/vehicle. With the data available, the following conclusions can be highlighted:
- With the present ELV treatment systems (breaking and fragmentation), it is not possible to comply with the levels set out by the European Directive: 80% recycling and reuse of materials by 2006.
- With the decontamination prototype designed in this project, the 2006 levels will be reached, but not those for 2015 (90%). To reach these levels, it will probably be sufficient to use the selective disassembly process, although there is no real data available.
- When designing the selective disassembly processes, the materials that are currently being recovered must be taken into account, e.g. the copper in the electric cables.
- When designing a logistics system, the efficiency must be ensured. This is one of the main costs of the system.