Jaguar Land Rover expands its aluminium circular economy drive

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has launched the REALITY programme, an expansion on its closed-loop aluminium recycling programme that will place end-of-life materials into new high-performance JLR products.

The £2m REALITY project builds on JLR’s REALCAR project to enable the collection and recycling of tens of thousands of tonnes of aluminium generated in JLR manufacturing processes. As part of the updated project, JLR will source aluminium from end-of-life vehicles to be graded as “born again” reusable materials in the manufacture of new vehicles.

The REALCAR (REcycled ALuminium CAR) project, launched by JLR in 2008 and funded by Innovate UK, sought to create a closed-loop value chain to recycle vehicles at the end of their lifecycles. The original project enabled JLR to reclaim more than 75,000 tonnes of aluminium for reuse.

Commenting on the launch of REALITY, Innovate UK’s director of manufacturing and materials Simon Edmunds said: “Innovate UK is proud of our support for the REALCAR programme, and this exciting latest stage of the project, REALITY, is another excellent example of collaboration between large and small businesses in the supply chain, supporting them to scale up and become more productive. These projects have been a model in terms of professional delivery of complex research and development.”

New realities

JLR has invested more than £13m in implementing the closed-loop aluminium system. The project, which sees waste treated by Novelis, has so far involved more than 10 press shops from JLR and external suppliers.

The REALITY project will accelerate these developments to realise carbon and energy savings. For example, aluminium recycling requires 95% less energy than traditional aluminium production. The new project will explore sorting technologies to enhance recyclability, to improve the alloy produced through REALCAR, which contains up to 75% recycled content.

As a result of the project expansion, resource recovery firm Axion has joined to develop the new sorting technology.

The REALITY project forms part of a wider energy and resource efficiency drive, which includes an agreement to purchase 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. In JLR’s 2015 sustainability report, the firm announced that it would spend £36m over the next three years in renewable energy, energy efficiency and process improvements.

Matt Mace

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