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Research Project on Automotive Aluminum Recycling Awarded DOE Grant

The REMADE Institute, a public-private partnership established by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the first institute in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the nation’s transition to a circular economy, awarded funding for a forthcoming research project about automotive aluminum recycling. The Aluminum Association is part of the research team and the project is led by the University of Michigan, in partnership with several stakeholders, including Ford Motor Company, Novelis, Argonne National Laboratory and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. Forthcoming research will focus on ensuring aluminum automotive body sheet scrap from end-of-life vehicles is captured, recycled and reused in the making of new automotive body sheet for future vehicles. This research will help close the material loop and support key sustainability priorities for the aluminum industry.

“The aluminum industry is focused on reducing carbon emissions and this research is critical to helping further place sustainability at the core of the industry,” said Marshall Wang, senior sustainability specialist at the Aluminum Association. “We’re proud to collaborate with industry leading organizations in the name of advancing research in this area. Historically, aluminum has been mostly integrated into new automotive parts through closed-loop recycling processes. With rapidly increasing applications of aluminum for the vehicle’s body structure and closures, we want to make sure these metals will be recycled into new auto body sheet to close the material loop. This puts us one step closer to more efficient and cost-effective end-of-life recycling that will reduce waste, lower emissions, save energy and return a critical input material to U.S. automotive manufacturers.”

Aluminum is infinitely recyclable, and it can operate in a true closed loop by being recycled over and over again without losing quality. The production of secondary, or recycled, aluminum can save more than 90 percent of the energy involved in the smelting of primary aluminum. Moreover, aluminum has been designated by the U.S. government as a critical mineral—it’s one of only nine designated critical minerals that are essential to all industrial sectors, including automotive.

The Aluminum Association represents the U.S. aluminum industry across the entire value chain. The U.S. aluminum industry generates more than $70 billion in direct economic output, directly employs more than 166,000 workers across the country and indirectly supports an additional 494,000 workers. As demands for clean transportation solutions increase, recycling will be important to a resilient and thriving U.S. aluminum industry in the years ahead.

For more information and a full list of grant recipients, please visit REMADE Institute.

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