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Innovation offers purer recycled aluminium

Researchers in the US have reported a technological innovation capable of removing metallic impurities from recycled aluminium melts, allowing it to be used for more diverse applications, including electric vehicle manufacturing.

Details are confidential but the technology has already been licensed to a domestic producer of recycled aluminium. The development is part of a research and development project supported by Remade, a 170-member public-private partnership funded in part by the United States Department of Energy.

The R&D project, ‘Selective Recovery of Elements from Molten Aluminium Alloys,’ is still in progress and is being led by Subodh Das, ceo of Phinix, who says the research ultimately seeks to develop technologies to improve the quality and increase the usage of recycled aluminium in US manufacturing.

Increasing value

‘This technology is capable of benefiting aluminium companies significantly,’ Das adds. ‘It’s capable of lowering their energy costs, increasing their profits, and increasing the overall value of recycled aluminium considerably.’

Although aluminium is one of the world’s most recycled materials, there is room to enhance its recycling rate, cost, recyclability, and sustainability. The US Geological Survey estimates that the American consumption of aluminium in 2022 was 5.100 million tonnes, of which about 2.740 million tonnes was imported, 0.860 million tonnes was produced from primary ores, and the balance of 1.5 million tonnes was produced from scrap.

Remade cto Magdi Azer says the licence is another milestone for the public-private partnership, which seeks to increase the reuse, remanufacturing, recycling, and recovery of four energy-intensive materials: metals, including steel and aluminium; polymers, including plastics; fibres, including papers and textiles; and e-scrap.

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