The talks and discussions at the IARC showed that even 15 years after the enactment of the EU end-of-life vehicle directive, there is no danger of running out of topical issues to discuss. Quite the contrary in fact, as the increasing application of composite materials and carbon fibre-reinforced plastics as well as the broader use of lithium-ion batteries are factors confronting end-of-life vehicle recyclers with an array of new challenges that will need to be met during the next few years.
Right at the beginning of the conference, the keynote speech held by Dr Kay Oppat, COO of the Scholz Group, soon became a source of animated discussion. In his speech, Dr Oppat called for the formation of a think tank consisting of representatives from automotive manufacturers, suppliers and recycling companies. The underlying idea is to find a common approach to increase the availability of end-of-life vehicles. Professor Julian Allwood from the University of Cambridge was of a similar opinion. He was convinced that the recycling of end-of-life vehicles offers great potential for innovation and in his keynote speech he encouraged those members of the recycling industry attending the IARC to demand support in achieving this aim.
The main focus of further speeches dealt with finding and developing suitable measures and treatments that will enable that the set recycling, reuse and recovery targets are met. In addition, a separate block of presentations addressed the topics waste-to-energy and gasification processes. Other items on the agenda were field reports, new methods of research and the presentation of innovative treatment processes. Here, the IARC participants had the choice between attending presentations in the congress hall or presentations as part of the “Company Spotlight and Tech Talks”, which were held as a supporting program in the exhibitors’ forum.
Country reports are another regular feature of the IARC. This year, Wei Sun from Volkswagen (China) Investment Co. provided listeners with an insight into the development of end-of-life vehicle recycling regulations in China. Captain N S Mohan Ram of the Indian company TVS Motor Company Limited provided information on end-of-life vehicle recycling in India, and Cagri Akin from the Turkish company Remer/ÖTASAD reported on the car recycling sector in Turkey. Arturo Rufino of the company JR Diesel and Bruno Garfinkel of insurance company Porto Seguro gave an insight in ELV recycling developments in Brazil.
The common thread running through all presentations, however, was the firm aim to improve the recycling of end-of-life vehicles through greater efforts to achieve a circular economy.