Project reduces CO2 emissions in the manufacture of new plastic products

The LIFE CIRC-ELV Project has developed a new process to manage end-of-life vehicles to recover bumpers and fuel tanks, recycle the materials and use them to manufacture pipes and new parts for vehicles.
Photo: Aimplas

Aimplas, the Plastics Technology Centre, recently finished coordinating the LIFE CIRC-ELV Project, which ended with the successful development of a new process for recycling plastic components from end-of-life vehicles.

A new plastic recovery process has been successfully implemented by one of the members of the consortium, the Valencian company Desguace Cortés, which involves separating the polypropylene bumpers and polyethylene fuel tanks of end-of-life vehicles due to the value of these materials, which are recycled for reintroduction in the production cycle, thus promoting the circular economy. In particular, two recycled demo samples were developed in the project: one is a closed loop sample (plastic remains in the automotive industry), in this case, wheel liners for vehicles manufactured by the Aragon firm Sigit; and the other is an open loop sample, in which pipes and pipe fittings were manufactured at a production plant in Portugal, near project partner Isolago.

The role of Aimplas in the project involved optimizing the pretreatment of bumpers and fuel tanks to obtain the recycled raw material used to manufacture the new demo sample products. The result was a 20% reduction in the CO2 emissions generated during the manufacturing process of the new products thanks to the use of 30% recycled plastic from end-of-life vehicles. The use of this recycled plastic in products for this industry and others will help reduce the carbon footprint by 85%. In addition, Aimplas carried out the environmental impact assessment throughout the life cycle (LCA), i.e. during the process of recovering plastic parts in Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) and the manufacture of parts with recycled plastic.

The technology developed in the project can be applied in other ATFs to obtain recycled plastics ready to be used to produce new products, such as household appliances, pest control devices and even farm tools.

The implementation of this part separation model in European ATFs is supported by the French company Indra as a reference in the sector of managing end-of-life vehicles. Sigrauto has also helped disseminate and transfer the project results.

The LIFE CIRC-ELV Project, co-funded by the European Union LIFE Programme, is made up of partners AIMPLAS, Desguace Cortés, Sigit and Sigrauto (Spain), Indra (France) and Isolago (Portugal).


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