New route to reclaiming plastics from ASR

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Researchers have found a new way of separating the different types of shredded plastic parts from end-of-life-vehicles (ELVs). In co-operation with Japanese vehicle manufacturer Toyota and German waste technology specialist Sicon, the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising, Germany, has developed the so-called CreaSolv process.

When compressed into granulate, the plastic in auto shredder residue (ASR) is usually too indiscriminately mixed to permit any further use and is normally employed as a reduction agent in blast furnaces. But according to the researchers, the new process could enable granulated plastic to be recovered and transformed into dashboards and other car parts. ‘We have developed a special solvent that removes a particular type of plastic from the granulate - the polyolefins used to make air filter housings, shock absorbers and side panels,’ says IVV Project Manager Martin Schlummer. ‘While this type of polymer dissolves in the solvent, the other plastics remain in the granulate.’ The solvent is separated from the polyolefin and re-used.

The CreaSolv process is said to be so effective as a cleaner that scientists can also remove any toxins with which the polymer may have come into contact during shredding. Using this technology, the overall recycling rate for ELVs ‘can be increased to over 90%’, claims Mr Schlummer.

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