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Project Context and Objectives:
End-of-life vehicles (ELV) generate around 10 million tonnes of waste per year in the EU. Around 75% of this is currently recycled or recovered by different processes, but this percentage falls well short of the 95% target for 2015 set by the ELV European directive 2000/53/EC.
The non-ferrous metal fraction in ELV scrap contains several metals/alloys; primarily aluminium, copper and magnesium (a critical metal in Europe) whose recovery is important for environmental, economic and resource conservation reasons. The separation of non-ferrous metals from ELV scrap is technically complex, and the inefficiency of existing waste separation technologies results in the use of labour-intensive handpicking separation, which is only viable in low labour cost countries, and results in the loss of important raw-materials for Europe.
Current non-ferrous metal sorting technologies do not allow separation of metals with similar composition and properties. Existing technologies also suffer from poor cost effectiveness and/or throughput for the separation of aluminium (Al) and magnesium (Mg) alloys.
The SHREDDERSORT project, entitled “Selective recovery of non-ferrous metal automotive shredder by combined Electromagnetic Tensor Spectroscopy and Laser Induced Plasma Spectroscopy” is developing a solution to the above, and has received funding from the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 603676.
The project contains 11 partners from Spain, Portugal, Italy, UK and Austria, including six SME partners from industry and five leading EU university/research organizations. Three of the SME partners are very experienced in the recycling sector: Saubermacher (Austria) and Hierros y Metales Díez (Spain) as recyclers, and Regulator Cetrisa (Spain) as a manufacturer of metal sorting equipment. The project is coordinated by the SME partner, Lenz Instruments S.L. (Spain), who is a developer of industrial inspection technologies, and is experienced in the coordination of European projects.
The three year project started in Jan 2014 and will end in Dec 2016 and this summary provides a “mid-term” update of project status at Aug 2015.
Three sorting lines will be built and demonstrated in the project. Each will be based on a belt conveyor to transport the scrap fragments; a sensor system to analyse them; and air ejectors to direct each fragment into different collection zones. The novel sensor systems underdevelopment are:
• Electromagnetic Tensor Spectroscopy (EMTS) and Vision Image Analysis (VIA) to probe the electrical properties of the non-ferrous metal scrap, to separate Al, copper, zinc, and brass, etc.;
• Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to separate cast and wrought Al alloys in a first step; and to separate selected wrought Al and Mg alloy series in a second step.
The commercial objective of the project is to manufacture the novel sorting systems for use by the ELV recyclers in the project and in the recycling industry at large. Unlike existing sorting systems, SHREDDERSORT will be able to sort aluminium into separate wrought and cast categories. This is a major advantage, as the wrought-only category can be sold to metal refiners/remelters for the production of secondary wrought Al, a higher price than scrap which contains a mix of wrought and cast aluminium, and which can only be used for the production of secondary cast alloys.
In vehicles, cast Al alloys are often used in engine cylinder heads, pistons and blocks, transmission housings and wheels, and wrought Al alloys in car body components and wheels. The amount of wrought Al used in the average automobile is expected to increase significantly over the next decade due to the use of aluminium sheet.
The project also has a number of significant environmental and societal benefits as will be explained.

Project Results:
The project contains 11 work packages (WPs) and the current results of each are described below.
WP1 Characterization of metal shredder residue, lead by IST
WP1 performed a physical, morphological and chemical characterization of the non-ferrous ELV fraction provided by Saubermacher, Diez and other recyclers. Fragments were sorted by size and appearance into classes and sub-classes, and sub-classes were chemically analysed (by LNEG) to determine alloy types and their predominance. The results are available as a public deliverable and were used by WP2-WP7 as design inputs.
WP2 - Electromagnetic Tensor Spectroscopy (EMTS) development, lead by Univ. of Manchester
The EMTS sensor system probes the electrical properties of the fragments, as they pass on the conveyor, to sort Al, copper, bronze etc. Modelling and characterization of fragments was done, to design a novel inductive coil arrangement and electronics. A digital signal processing system was developed by Lenz. A small-scale EMTS conveyor system was built and is being used to test the components.
WP3 - Vision system for fragment location and shape estimation, lead by Joanneum Research
A vision system was developed to image the fragments as they pass on the conveyor, and apply high speed image processing algorithms to identify each fragment, and codify its position and shape for use by the EMTS system to help determine the metal type. A lab prototype was built and tested with shredder fragments, and is now being enhanced.
WP4 - Development of LIBS spectral database, lead by CNR
Non-ferrous shredder scrap was characterized using the Modì mobile LIBS instrument from Marwan. Tests were done to determine the best LIBS operating conditions to suit the Moncrom laser. An artificial neural network was developed to process the LIBS spectra and to classify the fragments according to alloy type. There was good agreement with the chemical analysis done on the same fragments in WP1. Results of this work are available in a public deliverable and were used as design inputs to WP5, WP6 and WP7.
WP5 - Development of a dual-pulse passive Q-switched laser, lead by Monocrom.
Monocrom developed a solid state microchip laser which is compact, robust, suited to mass production, cost-effective and optimized for the LIBS sorting systems in the project. Final tests are underway prior to integration in WP6 and WP7
WP6 - High speed multichannel polychromator, lead by Lenz Instruments
Lenz developed a high speed LIBS polychromator and instrument which receives the LIBS optical emission from the fragments on the conveyor, detects the LIBS spectra, and processes the spectra to determine the metal type, e.g. wrought or cast Al. This system will soon be integrated with the lasers from Monocrom and the conveyor from Cetrisa.
WP7 - Sorting lines and sensor integration, lead by Regulator Cetrisa
Cetrisa designed a modular feeder, conveyor, ejector system which can be configured to build the EMTS+VIA sorter system and the two LIBS sorting systems, and work has started on the build of the conveyors and integration of the sensors. Marwan has developed a high resolution LIBS system to sort different wrought Al alloy series and Mg, at lower throughputs. This solution complements the LIBS sorter from WP6.
WP8 – Life Cycle assessment and WP9 Technology validation, lead by IST, will start in the 2nd half of the project.
W10 - Exploitation and Dissemination, lead by Lenz
The consortium has published two scientific papers and made three presentations at recycling industry and other conferences. Five workshops were conducted with interested processor/recycling companies outside the consortium. In this WP, the partners will also develop their plans for the commercial exploitation of the SHREDDERSORT solution.
WP11 – Management (lead by Lenz).
This WP runs for the duration of the project to manage the communication between partners, and with the EC, and to review and assess the project.
Potential Impact:
By the end of the project, we expect to have achieved the following major results:
• To have built the three different sorting lines for non-ferrous ELV scrap and to have demonstrated their operation in the facilities of the two ELV recycler end users Saubermacher and Díez.
• To have disseminated the results of the project within the recycling industry, the scientific community and the public at large
• To have developed a plan for the commercialization of the technology by the partners and other potential stakeholders.
In terms of environmental and societal benefits, the project will to contribute to:
• Efficient resource management by promoting metal recycling rates, avoiding Al/Mg downcycling and reducing metal recycling costs;
• Development of new business models and employment opportunities arising from these new recycling technologies;
• Reduced European dependence on raw -material imports, especially of critical metals (e.g. Mg);
• Promotion of energy efficiency in the metallurgical industry;
• Reduced environmental emissions and impacts.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 603676.

For more information please refer to the project website: or send an email to
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