Page 37 - Hub-4 Magazine Issue 70
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 Hoffmann: Light metals allow weight and therefore CO2 to be saved in the mobility sector. The statutory requirements in this area are getting more and more stringent all the time so there is growing pressure on OEMs to implement lightweight solutions. At the same time, there is more and more interest from society in sustainable economies. Aluminium recyclers are therefore increasingly stating the share of recycled aluminium used. It can be assumed that demand for aluminium over the next few decades will increase by another 50 percent. An above-average amount of this will have to come from recycled material. Around 5 million tons of aluminium scrap is currently recycled a year in Europe. The figure globally is 20 million tons. Experts estimate that this figure will double over the next 10 years.
What trends do you see emerging for aluminium recycling?
Hoffmann: Most of the material we sort today comes from vehicles or other products that were manufactured ten or more years ago. The number of alloys used has increased since then. So in the future, it will be important to be able to distinguish between alloys more accurately than we can today.
Are there also any technological solutions, which would simplify the recycling of all these alloys?
Hoffmann: Yes, and we have already developed them: Laser- Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy or LIBS for short. This
involves firing at aluminium with a high-energy laser. When the laser hits the metal, it turns into a metal vapour known as plasma. As it cools, it implodes and emits a measurable energy radiation, which is specific to that atom structure. This allows the various aluminium alloys to be determined with great accuracy.
If this technology is introduced across the board, we will be able to separate the alloys from one another so precisely that a circular economy is possible. The smelt works know what they need for their alloys. If a company can determine exactly what kind of material they have, then they can also establish what needs to be added to achieve the specified material properties.
STEINERT uses the term “Greener Aluminium”, what does this mean?
“Greener Aluminium” highlights the opportunities, which this metal and its unique possibilities offer us in recycling. This does require intelligent recycling cycles and sorting technology, but it is already allowing us to produce closed material cycles for this important material.
Here at Steinert we are delighted that we are able to play a key role here through the work of our development teams and our specialist advisers in the field. The future that intelligently reusing this metal offers us is driving us to achieve even more and develop even smarter solutions. Sept-Oct 21 - Issue 70
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