Automotive Industry: Vehicle Recycling and its impact on the environment - Part 4 of 5
Vehicle Recycling: Energy saving
By 2015 95% of the weight of end-of-life vehicles should be reused or recycled
rather than going to landfill, 10% of which should be energy recovery. The thermal
treatment of ASR can result in high energy gains, while preventing the material
from reaching landfill. ASR can be treated at an advanced thermal treatment plant
or disposed of in a municipal solid waste incinerator. The EU is encouraging these
methods by suggesting that pricing for both should remain lower than the cost of
disposal in landfill.
Rare earth materials
There is a predicted increase in the volume of electric vehicles on our roads in the
next decade, with up to 20% of the Western European transport market expected to
be made up of hybrid and electric vehicles. This will place an unprecedented
demand on permanent magnets, rare earth materials and lithium; the chemicals
and materials used to make lightweight synchronous motors and batteries.
Rare earth materials and lithium face potential supply problems as both are isolated
to specific geographical areas, so recycling of these materials will play an important
role in the manufacture of future electric vehicles. Working groups and partnerships
are being developed between OEM’s, recyclers and chemical companies to develop
suitable recycling methods to provide an alternative supply chain.
The extraction of rare earth materials from recycled batteries has previously only
been on a small scale under very controlled conditions, and there is a desire among
manufacturers to develop proven and tested recycling methods for a larger market.
This article is part of the Vehicle Recycling series.