Audi: Chemical recycling project for mixed plastic components

Audi in partnership with the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology has launched a pilot project with the aim of finding a sustainable solution for plastic components that cannot be replaced in the automotive industry due to the stringent safety, heat resistance and quality requirements they must meet.
The components under study are a mix of plastic materials that make them difficult to manage at the end of their life.
The project consists of the development of a chemical recycling process for mixed plastic components, which allows the material to be re-entered into a closed-loop supply chain system, thus contributing to a significant reduction in virgin material resources used.
The test was performed on discarded components such as fuel tanks, wheel trim parts and radiator grills recovered from some dealerships. These components are transformed into pyrolysis oil, which in turn is used for the production of new components, whose quality is equal to virgin oil products.
The German car manufacturer’s sustainability strategy has set itself the goal of maximizing the efficient use of resources and reducing CO2 emissions in the supply chain, giving priority to materials that are used in higher volumes and require energy-intensive production processes.
An important action carried out by Audi was the “Aluminium Closed Loop” project, which involved the use of secondary aluminium allowing energy savings of up to 95% compared to the use of primary material. Implemented in 2019 in two production sites, it allowed a carbon footprint reduction of 150,000 tons for that year alone.

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