Jaguar Land Rover is set to reduce CO2 emissions by a quarter through its pioneering project that would repurpose aluminium waste from drinks cans and end-of-life vehicles into premium cars.
The £2million Reality project is expected to reduce aluminium production by 26 per cent, while helping to close the loop on precious raw materials, as the car manufacturer moves towards zero emissions.
The process would give a second life to premium automotive grade aluminium and the company has revealed the new alloy has passed initial quality testing.
The upcycling project, co-funded by Innovate UK and in partnership with Brunel University, is helping Jaguar Land Rover extend its aluminium closed loop and recycling initiatives as part of its Destination Zero mission.
The mission, of which the ongoing project plays a key role, is to reduce carbon emissions, make societies safer and clean up the environment through innovation.
The recycled aluminium parts were mixed with a lower amount of primary aluminium to form a new and tested prototype alloy, in line with the existing Jaguar Land Rover grade and quality.
Gaëlle Guillaume, lead project manager for Reality at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “As we move into an autonomous, connected and electrified future, with the potential of shared fleets being de-commissioned en masse, it could allow Jaguar Land Rover to engineer this closed loop recycling alloy into tight production schedules to further improve efficiency and environmental benefits.”
Nearly 75 per cent of all aluminium produced in the USA and EU is still in use today while the creation of recycled aluminium uses around 90 per cent less energy than raw material production, according to The Aluminium Association.
Aluminium can be melted down and reformed repeatedly, without compromising quality, as it is one of the most widely recycled materials in the world. While it appears in its recycled form as drinks cans, bottle tops and food trays, it is not widely used for car manufacturing.
Jaguar Land Rover can re-use the premium properties of high-quality automotive-grade aluminium used to manufacture vehicles as part of a blend, reducing the need to use virgin aluminium. Typically, end-of-life vehicle scrap is exported overseas where it can be re-used for low-end applications, but new technology has enabled it to be upcycled back into the automotive process.
Jaguar Land Rover has already halved its global operating CO2 emissions per vehicle since 2007 and is committed to its ongoing decarbonisation process. Between September 2013 and March 2020, around 360,000 tonnes of closed-loop scrap were processed back into the brand’s lightweight aluminium intensive architecture, across all vehicle lines including the Jaguar XE.
In 2014, Jaguar XE was the first vehicle in the world to use aluminium alloy grade RC5754 for its body panels, which contains up to 75 per cent recycled aluminium.