End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) are one of the most recycled consumer products. Nevertheless, part of the recovered material is still landfilled, some auto dismantlers and other ELV treatment facilities apply poor environmental practices and there are still many cases of vehicles abandoned in the environment. The environmental threat this generates is large and likely to increase because ELVs in the EU are expected to reach 14 million tonnes by weight in 2015.
The recycling chain of ELVs starts with the removal of the vehicle’s re-usable parts. Then the ELVs are sent to wreckers for shredding, in which metals - accounting for some 75% by weight of all materials - are magnetically removed and recycled. The remaining (approximately) 15% of material – known as ‘fluff’ and consisting primarily of plastics, seat foam, glass and rubber - is mostly landfilled.
To encourage a life-cycle approach, the EU’s ELV Directive (2000/53/EC) establishes that vehicle manufacturers are responsible for their products until their complete disposal. Furthermore, all vehicles have to be 95% recoverable and 85% recyclable by 2015. However, to reach this objective, high investment, large spaces, appropriate national legislation and advanced technologies are required. Few EU countries are close to meeting the 95% recovery target.
The LIFE CARWASTE project aims to contribute to the effective life-cycle management of cars through an innovative process to exploit currently landfilled waste material produced at end-of-life. Specifically, it plans to develop and demonstrate an innovative technology and process to facilitate the re-use of ‘fluff’ materials in cement and steel plants.
The project will design and construct a pilot plant that aims to finely separate small shredded car waste materials of between 1.5 mm and 70 mm. It thus expects to be able to recover and recycle its component materials. It specifically hopes to demonstrate the feasibility of using recovered materials for the production of high quality fuel for cement and steel plants, meeting EU regulations on standards for solid recovered fuels.
The project will undertake a thorough life-cycle and cost-benefit analysis of the new process and hopes to be able to demonstrate that the plant is technically viable and economically feasible. It will prove its environmental benefits from avoiding both landfilling of waste materials and the consumption of alternative raw materials in the cement and steel industries.
LIFE CARWASTE hopes to demonstrate that the plant is replicable and scalable and provide an affordable and sustainable business model to this end. It thus hopes to strengthen the recycling market and the related competitiveness of car demolition facilities, recycling organisations, and the automotive industry in general.
- A pilot plant able to separate thin shredded materials - from 1.5 mm to 70 mm - from ELVs at a capacity of around 3.5 t/hour scrap from ELVs demolition;
- About 34% of car fluff - amounting to about 5 355 t/year of ELV material - recovered and exploited for energy production in the cement and steel industries, meeting the appropriate standards for recycled fuel:
- Contaminants produced per kg under the thresholds defined in the CEN/TC 343 “Solid recovered fuels” standards; and o Metals emitted under the limit of 0.5 mg/Nm3 as set by the Directive 2010/75/CE on industrial emissions.
- Demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility, environmental benefits, scalability and transferability of the pilot module;
- Provide an affordable and sustainable business model for the transferability of the module to other facilities; and
- Contribute in the long-term to the achievement of ELV recycling targets – and associated avoidance of landfilling of ELV waste.