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VW advances ELV recycling process

Volkswagen is building an End-of-Life vehicle treatment plant in Austria, which it claims, will be the first industrially viable operation to maximise the recycling of ELV shredder residue.

The German carmaker said it is considering plans to establish similar facilities elsewhere in Europe, including the UK, over the next few years.

Under construction in Enns, Austria, its plant will be based on a technology developed jointly by VW and SiCon of Hilchenbach, near Cologne, Germany.

It will be operated by local company Bernegger and will have an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes of shredder residue.

The VW-SiCon system produces reusable material fractions by multi-stage shredding, sorting and segregation on the basis of density, particle shape, magnetic properties, conductivity and optical characteristics. Only 5% of residue goes to disposal, compared to around 20% for current ELV treatment systems, according to VW.

After separating out ferrous and non-ferrous-metals, the process produces secondary raw material fractions based on shredder granulate, shredder fibre/foam, shredder sand and PVC. The separated fractions are refined and supplied to customers for various applications, including feedstock-recycling processes.

According to the company, a soon-to-be-published life cycle study shows how the VW-SiCon process brings more environmental benefits to other End-of-Life products such as electrical equipment.

VW general representative Reinhold Kopp said: "Given the legal requirements, the industry has taken the initiative and developed a practicable solution to end-of-life vehicle recycling."

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