Audi MaterialLoop project tests circular economy potential of end-of-life vehicles

Gladbeck 03 March 2023 - Building on the joint pilot project with Audi on the recycling of automotive glass and the use of our glass granulate in new car windscreens, Audi is going one step further with the MaterialLoop cooperation project. The goal - to close material loops for recyclable materials such as steel, aluminium, plastic or glass within the automotive industry and to recover as many materials as possible in the best possible quality.

Together with us and 14 other partner companies from research, the recycling sector and the supplier industry, Audi is testing the reuse of so-called post-consumer materials from customer vehicles that are at the end of their life cycle for the production of new vehicles. The project provides valuable insights into the implementation of a Circular Economy (CE) in practice.

In the area of glass recycling, our upstream pilot project for the reprocessing of defective car windscreens has already been providing important insights since spring 2022. As a recycling specialist for flat glass, we reprocess car windscreens using our mechanical, innovative recycling process. As it passes through our modern facilities, it is crushed and freed from a wide variety of impurities. The high-quality glass granulate obtained is then melted down by partner companies and processed into new flat glass for the automotive industry. During the project phase, it was even successfully used in the production of the Q4 e-tron.

In general, the use of recovered, high-quality secondary materials from end-of-life vehicles in the production of new vehicles is intended to save valuable primary materials and reduce the ecological footprint of the products. Our pilot project in closed-loop car glass recycling has already shed light on the enormous potential savings that can be achieved by using our cullet, especially in terms of CO2, water and energy.

A total of 100 vehicles, including former test vehicles, were dismantled for the MaterialLoop project of Audi in October 2022. Through the targeted dismantling of individual components, it was already possible to secure high-quality secondary materials such as larger plastic components for further recycling. After dismantling, the remaining vehicle bodies were shredded and separated into different material groups such as steel, aluminium and plastic together with the partner companies involved. With the aim of testing the reuse for the production of new vehicles, Audi defined and piloted the further recycling process together with the project partners from industry and science.

Even before the end of the project in April, some of the new materials included in the project, such as (recycled) steel, could be used again for the production of new models.

We are very much looking forward to further joint cooperation in pioneering projects for a successfully established circular economy in the automotive industry!

Materials management. Recycling. With us you close the loop.

To the official press release of the Audi MaterialLoop project.