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Car plastic fuel tanks closed loop recycling process design and life cycle assessment


Objectives and content
Since 1993, the Automotive Industry has concluded
voluntary agreements on End-of-Life Vehicles at national
level in several European Countries in order to
progressively reduce the weight of Automotive Shredder
Residue sent to landfill, with a final targeted limit of
5% in 2015. Recently, a Directive Proposal voted by the
European Commission proposed the same targets.
Mounted on more than 60% of new european models, Plastic
Fuel Tanks (PFT) are large parts made out of well defined
material: High Density Polyethylene. Such features
designate Plastic Fuel Tanks as a good candidate for
mechanical recycling and the recovery of the
corresponding HDPE stream, which is estimated at more
than 50.000 ton annually for the year 2000, would
contribute to alleviate the Automotive Shredder Residue
The objective of the project is to set up a Value Chain
for the recycling of HDPE from used PFT back into the
original application, with the aim to introduce 40% of
regenerate into new PFT.
In order to meet this challenge, a multi-disciplinary and
transnational research project must be initiated, with
targeted achievements in four key areas, which will be
dealt with interactively:
Plastic Fuel Tanks Design and Manufacturing: designfor-recycling guidelines will be established to make
future PFT easy to dismantle and recycle
Recovery Process Engineering and Logistics: an
efficient process will be required. A key success factor
is the elimination of absorbed fuel residues and
parasitic coatings, for which cleaning techniques and
supercritical C02 process will be developed
Polymer Science: new molecular repair additives systems
will be elaborated to upgrade the recovered material, as
no trade-off in performance will be allowed versus virgin
Life Cycle Assessment: a new LCA approach will be
implemented in order to determine the soundness of the
recycling process in comparison with other routes (energy
recovery, landfill).
The pertinence of the whole process will be evaluated on
the basis of three sets of criteria: LCA, economic
efficiency and technical performance. In order to allow
quick dissemination and practical implementation, a
comprehensive scheme will be devised for a complete
industrial recycling network, from the dismantling of
used PFT to the production of new optimised PFT
incorporating a significant amount of a high quality
regenerated material.

Call for proposal

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310,rue de ransbeek 310
1120 Bruxelles

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EU contribution
€ 0,00

Participants (5)