End-Of-Life Vehicle Recycling: State of the Art of Resource Recovery From Shredder Residue

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Each year, more than 25 million vehicles reach the end of their service life throughout the world, and this number is rising rapidly because the number of vehicles on the roads is rapidly increasing. In the United States, more than 95% of the 10-15 million scrapped vehicles annually enter a comprehensive recycling infrastructure that includes auto parts recyclers/dismantlers, remanufacturers, and material recyclers (shredders). Today, over 75% of automotive materials, primarily the metals, are profitably recycled via (1) parts reuse and parts and components remanufacturing and (2) ultimately by the scrap processing (shredding) industry. The process by which the scrap processors … continued below

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Jody, B. J.; Daniels, E. J.; Duranceau, C. M.; Pomykala, J. A. & Spangenberger, J. S. (Energy Systems) February 22, 2011.

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Each year, more than 25 million vehicles reach the end of their service life throughout the world, and this number is rising rapidly because the number of vehicles on the roads is rapidly increasing. In the United States, more than 95% of the 10-15 million scrapped vehicles annually enter a comprehensive recycling infrastructure that includes auto parts recyclers/dismantlers, remanufacturers, and material recyclers (shredders). Today, over 75% of automotive materials, primarily the metals, are profitably recycled via (1) parts reuse and parts and components remanufacturing and (2) ultimately by the scrap processing (shredding) industry. The process by which the scrap processors recover metal scrap from automobiles involves shredding the obsolete automobile hulks, along with other obsolete metal-containing products (such as white goods, industrial scrap, and demolition debris), and recovering the metals from the shredded material. The single largest source of recycled ferrous scrap for the iron and steel industry is obsolete automobiles. The non-metallic fraction that remains after the metals are recovered from the shredded materials - commonly called shredder residue - constitutes about 25% of the weight of the vehicle, and it is disposed of in landfills. This practice is not environmentally friendly, wastes valuable resources, and may become uneconomical. Therefore, it is not sustainable. Over the past 15-20 years, a significant amount of research and development has been undertaken to enhance the recycle rate of end-of-life vehicles, including enhancing dismantling techniques and improving remanufacturing operations. However, most of the effort has been focused on developing technology to separate and recover non-metallic materials, such as polymers, from shredder residue. To make future vehicles more energy efficient, more lightweighting materials - primarily polymers, polymer composites, high-strength steels, and aluminum - will be used in manufacturing these vehicles. Many of these materials increase the percentage of shredder residue that must be disposed of, compared with the percentage of metals that are recovered. In addition, the number of hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles on the road is rapidly increasing. This trend will also introduce new materials for disposal at the end of their useful lives, including batteries. Therefore, as the complexity of automotive materials and systems increases, new technologies will be required to sustain and maximize the ultimate recycling of these materials and systems. Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne), the Vehicle Recycling Partnership, LLC. (VRP) of the United States Council for Automotive Research, LLC. (USCAR), and the American Chemistry Council-Plastics Division (ACC-PD) are working to develop technology for recovering materials from end-of-life vehicles, including separating and recovering polymers and residual metals from shredder residue. Several other organizations worldwide are also working on developing technology for recycling materials from shredder residue. Without a commercially viable shredder industry, our nation and the world will most likely face greater environmental challenges and a decreased supply of quality scrap, and thereby be forced to turn to primary ores for the production of finished metals. This will result in increased energy consumption and increased damage to the environment, including increased greenhouse gas emissions. The recycling of polymers, other organics, and residual metals in shredder residue saves the equivalent of over 23 million barrels of oil annually. This results in a 12-million-ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This document presents a review of the state-of-the-art in the recycling of automotive materials.

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  • February 22, 2011

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Sept. 5, 2020, 8:50 p.m.

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Jody, B. J.; Daniels, E. J.; Duranceau, C. M.; Pomykala, J. A. & Spangenberger, J. S. (Energy Systems). End-Of-Life Vehicle Recycling: State of the Art of Resource Recovery From Shredder Residue, report, February 22, 2011; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc836463/: accessed June 13, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

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