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IARC 2021 – a virtual reality

An important step forward to show that the European Auto Recycling Industry was returning to normality was the hosting of the IARC 2021, which took place last week in Geneva. 


IARC 2021 – a virtual reality fe four


Over 100 delegates arrived at the InterContinental Hotel to hear two days of presentations revolving around auto recycling. However, the event organisers were aware that COVID restrictions still applied in some countries. They managed to create a hybrid platform where another 200 attendees could participate in the event remotely.

The first keynote speaker was Jean-Philippe Hermine, VP of Environmental Strategy, Renault SAS, France. Jean-Philippe discussed increasing the life of a vehicle to extend the circular economy. He mentioned the politics that may affect vehicle recycling as it enters a new age and the demands upon materials and recycling. 

The second keynote speaker was Artemis Hatzi-Hull, the European Commission representative on the ELV directive. In her speech, she brought the delegates up to date on the review of the current directive and the probability of it becoming a regulation, including how it may extend to trucks, buses and motorcycles. Following her presentation, a panel discussion on the subject took place, which opened up to questions from the floor with varying viewpoints being answered by Artemis. 

The title for the first session in the afternoon was entitled Circular economy and ELV challenges. The phrase’ Circular Economy’ was dominant throughout the conference, with every speaker mentioning it and its impact. Catherine Lenaerts and Willy Tomboy introduced the audience to their new approach to the ATF handling of electric vehicles. Manuel Kindelan from SIGRAUTO provided an upbeat presentation on car recycling in Spain, which he said had a solid network and well-thought-out legislation and regulation.

The first day was brought to a close with a focus on dismantling, depollution, recycling and reuse. When it came to ELV scrap, Christian Pak from STEINERT GmbH in Germany questioned if ever-deepening sorting methods were necessary and their benefits. Johannes Chatzis brought everyone up to date with the IDIS system and concentrated on the information it provides for high voltage when it comes to end of life vehicle treatment. Finally, Sebastian Raubinger from SEDA based in Austria highlighted how an accident involving an EV inspired them to produce equipment to transport damaged electric vehicles. 

Day two began with a look at battery safety and second life. Jérôme Favero from ArcelorMittal Europe’s presentation was entitled ‘Safety Requirements of E-Mobility will increase the amount of steel in the Body-in-White designs’. He concluded that safety requirements of BEVs and more popular SUVs would tend to increase the amount of steel used in such vehicles. Also, the need to optimise range and a trend to CO2-equivalent emission reduction will drive vehicles to be lighter in weight. Watt4Ever’s Fredericq Peigneux drew attention to how they were making e-batteries circular. Christian Winkler from TES focussed on dismantling and shredding, which was dominated by the 4 Rs: Reuse, Repurposing, Recycling and Recovery. 

To follow was Jodok Reinhardt, CEO and Co-founder of Librec in Switzerland, who provided information on how OEM takebacks and how EV batteries will be collected throughout Europe by using a series of transport networks. Rounding off the session, Glenn Vercruyce of Belgium based Trislot N.V., discussed solutions when it comes to screening and filtering materials. 

After lunch, attention was steered towards recycled polymers. Thomas Sorensson, Scandinavian Enviro System, spoke about commercial and circular solutions to recover close to 100% of the resources in tyres. Lein Tange introduced everyone to next-generation recycling processes for plastics containing flame retardants in automotive and being part of a circular economy. Also, in his presentation, Georg Grestenberger from Borealis Services S.A.S. in France concluded that increasing the recovery and recycling rate for ELVs presented a significant opportunity to bring a new raw material source for automotive compounders. However, he also stressed the need to stay ahead of the game in driving a circular economy of plastics in automotive.

The final session was designated to best available process technologies. Rik Debaere from Group GALLOO made the audience aware of innovations in air emission controls in ELV plants. Heiner Guschall of SICON based in Germany looked at total recovery and profitability regarding shredder residue. 

Jill Ledger-Bompard, ICM’s Marketing and Communication Director, commented:

“IARC21 went very well despite the challenges, and although the virtual participation was a great success, it is clear from feedback from our delegates that face to face meetings are still preferred for both business deals and personal exchanges. The auto recycling industry is in a state of metamorphosis and for this reason, the congress will evolve to continue to meet the needs of the market and the many players from the entire value chain.”

At the end of the two days, it was announced that a review for next year’s event would take place in advance of IARC 2022. Whatever is decided, next year will be easier to attend, and everyone can come together to be part of an important and valuable event on the ELV communities’ calendar.

Video on demand, interviews, plus virtual sessions are available by getting in touch with the IARC organisers. To find out more, click here.