Audi, which works to reduce the material cycle in the automotive industry, is launching a new joint project for the next step in this field: MaterialLoop. In the project, which was implemented together with 15 partners from the research, recycling and supply sectors, the use of materials taken from vehicles that have reached the end of their useful life and called post-consumer in new vehicle production is being investigated.
Audi is taking its work carried out within the framework of its circular economy strategy further with the joint project called MaterialLoop.
Today, very little of the materials used in the production of new vehicles are obtained by recycling from used vehicles. Audi wants to change this by using secondary materials from end-of-life vehicles in the production of new cars. Audi CEO Markus Duesmann, stating that they have implemented the MaterialLoop project for this purpose, said, “The project underlines our ambitious vision of operating end-of-life vehicles with an efficient circular economy concept. Our primary goal is to recover as many materials as possible in high quality and to reuse them in production. In this way, valuable primary materials will be preserved and the ecological footprint of the products will be reduced. Same zamAt the same time, it can also contribute to the solution of supply problems by providing direct access to secondary materials. There will be no requirement to extract raw materials.” said.
In October last year, 100 used vehicles, including development tools, were dismantled as part of the joint MaterialLoop project. All high-quality secondary materials such as large plastic parts are separated for recycling. After the disassembly process, the remaining body of the vehicle was divided into material groups consisting of steel, aluminum, plastic and glass by the project partner companies. In order to test the use of the obtained materials in the production of new cars, Audi identified and guided the recycling process together with the recycling industry companies, companies in Audi's supply chain and academic institutions among the project partners.
Johanna Klewitz, Head of Audi Sustainable Supply Chain, says that thanks to the importance they attach to industry cycles, their products and materials from which they are made are used for as long as possible, Audi's vision in this regard is to reduce the dependency on secondary materials in other sectors in the future. Improving the recyclability of next-generation Audi vehicles is the focus of focus work. As part of Audi's circular economy strategy, the project also provides important insights into how a circular economy should be implemented in practice. Audi Circular Economy Expert Dennis Meinen: “Circular economy is basically about using resources responsibly. The focus is on longevity, repairability and indeed the recyclability of our products.” explains as.
A new life for recycled steel: Audi A4 production
In the pilot project, which will run until the end of April, Audi has implemented data from the MaterialLoop and now feeds some of the materials back into automobile production. One of the results of the project was that a significant portion of the recycled scrap steel could be used in new model production. The first trial produced six steel coils made from approximately 12 percent secondary MaterialLoop materials that meet Audi's high quality standards and can be used for the most demanding structural components. Audi plans to use these steels in the door parts of 15 thousand Audi A4 models at its Ingolstadt press factory. Research conducted within the scope of the project reveals that the share of recycled steel in production can be further increased.
Together with its project partners, Audi is also gaining new data for the design and construction of future models. Advances in sorting technology and 'circular design' play a decisive role in Audi's efforts to optimize the recyclability of next-generation cars. When it comes to material selection, composition and modularity, this means designing automotive parts and components so that they can be sorted by material type during end-of-life recycling. As an additional result of the MaterialLoop project, Audi has also worked with the Volkswagen Group to develop a guide for suppliers explaining in which plants plastic parts can be designed, which will further increase the recycling rate in automotive production.
Experienced in recycling glass, plastic and aluminum
Seeking to steadily increase the share of recycled materials in its fleet in the coming years, Audi pursues the goal of creating material cycles for automotive applications wherever technically possible and economically and ecologically sensible with Audi Procurement. To this end, Audi began collecting information on recycling used automobile glass in the spring of 2022. In this pilot project, irreparable car windows were first broken into small pieces and then sorted. The resulting glass granule was melted and turned into new flat glass for the automotive industry and is already used in the production of the Q4 e-tron.