JLR's new project to recycle aluminium from end-of-life vehicles to build new cars

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 08 Apr 2019


Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is developing the next phase of its aluminium closed-loop strategy with an innovative recycling initiative to transform today's vehicles into the cars of tomorrow. The company's new project called 'Reality' aims to recover aluminium from existing Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles and reform it into a new high-grade aluminium to create new vehicles.

At present, the company is testing the new process on early, pre-production Jaguar I-Pace prototypes which have had their batteries safely removed. These batteries enter into their own second-life process which Jaguar Land Rover is developing while the scrap from the vehicles is sorted into various materials using high-tech sensors by Axion. Once separated, the aluminium scrap is melted and reformed.

The carmaker says when operating at full capacity, the Reality project is expected to reduce the CO2 impact of production while reducing the amount of virgin aluminium required to produce vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover has already reduced its global vehicle manufacturing operating CO2 by 46 percent per vehicle and remains committed to an ongoing decarbonisation process.

The project,  co-funded by Innovate UK, is helping Jaguar Land Rover extend its closed-loop aluminium economy. Between September 2013 and January 2019, around 300,000 tonnes of closed-loop scrap have been processed back into the brand’s lightweight aluminium intensive architecture, across all vehicle lines including XE.

In 2014, the company claims Jaguar XE was the first vehicle in the world to use aluminium alloy grade RC5754 for its body panels, which contains up to 75 percent recycled aluminium. Half of the XE body structure is made of aluminium alloy grades that contain an important amount of recycled aluminium content - made possible by a closed-loop manufacturing system at its UK and Slovakia facilities.

The carmaker says as part of an ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared) future, there will be an increased opportunity for recycling through the Reality project, as Jaguar Land Rover will be able to plan for the retirement of large shared fleets. This will enable the company to engineer closed loop recycling into tight production schedules, as the vehicles can be recovered, de-polluted and shredded en masse – making a viable business case for using the company’s recycled aluminium within its own facilities.

At present JLR uses 180,000 tonnes of aluminium annually - a small percentage of the 80 million tonnes produced globally each year. It is already one of the most widely recycled materials with 75 percent of all aluminium ever produced still in circulation.

Gaelle Guillaume, lead Project Manager, Reality at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “More than a million cars are crushed every year in the UK and this pioneering project affords us a real opportunity to give some of them a second life. Aluminium is a valuable material and a key component in our manufacturing process and as such we’re committed to ensuring our use of it is as responsible as possible.”

The recycled aluminium is being put through its paces by Brunel University scientists, who have conducted strength tests and graded its purity to ensure it meets the required mechanical standards to be used in body panels right across the Jaguar and Land Rover ranges.

Also read: PSA Group open to acquisition or merger with Jaguar Land Rover