In an effort to increase scrapped car recycling, Tetronics International, a resource recovery company, says its plasma arc technology has gone live at Duesmann & Hensel Recycling’s plant near Frankfurt.
Duesmann & Hensel Recycling is a global player in the precious metals recycling field and currently responsible for about 10 percent of the global recycled automotive catalytic converter market.
Swindon, UK-based Tetronics’ plasma arc technology is now being used to process and recover value from catalytic converters, which are used in car exhaust systems of modern cars to reduce pollutants, after Duesmann & Hensel Recycling ’s plant achieved final acceptance test (FAT) status. The material found in converters includes valuable platinum group metals (PGMs), which are essential for various manufacturing processes.
Tetronics’ process concentrates the PGMs for resale by a factor of x25 and makes them accessible via wet chemistry so that they can re-enter the supply chain and be used in the manufacture of new products. In the same process, hazardous elements contained in the less valuable material are transformed and the waste is turned into an approved, inert, reusable building product called Plasmarok.
An initial agreement to develop a plasma smelting furnace for Duesmann & Hensel Recycling in Karlstein near Frankfurt was reached in 2013. This announcement means the plant is fully commissioned and can process the catalytic converters from up to 1.85 million cars per year. Germany itself produces typically 500,000 end of life vehicles annually; each with a catalytic converters.
This will further build on the country’s strong record in recovering value from waste, with more than 95 percent of the metal found in vehicles already recycled.
Currently, Tetronics’ PGM installed commercial recycling capacity is about 13.7k metric tons of converter core material per annum, equaling 13.7 million catalytic converters per annum. This is set to rise to 17.5k metric tons of converter core material per annum in 2015, circa 1.2 million troy oz PGM per year.
In other efforts to increase car recycling, UK-based plastics recycler Axion Polymers says automotive engineers and manufacturers should consider “simpler” materials over high-performance composites at the initial design stage.