Our industry’s opinion on the decarbonisation of transport

Aluminium offers solutions to many of Europe’s sustainability challenges: it can enable its low-carbon, resource-efficient agenda and support long-lasting growth and a more competitive EU economy.

When speaking about transport, aluminium can contribute to lightweighting all types of vehicles thanks to its properties and, at the end of their life, it can be successfully recycled and used again, thus contributing to a low carbon and resource efficient mobility.

A material for low carbon mobility solutions

  1. Aluminium’s light-weighting properties mean it already makes a substantial contribution to reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency. Aluminium prevents 70 million tons of unwanted C02 in vehicle emissions from reaching the atmosphere, which helps to mitigate climate change.

    Aluminium is also an enabler of new mobility systems. It is a key material for electric vehicles, making them not only lighter but are also providing a solution for the battery systems and charging infrastructure.

    The aluminium industry is determined to be an important partner in the transition to new low carbon mobility systems.

Making a vehicle lighter and more recyclable are mutually compatible

Aluminium can contribute both to lightweighting of the vehicle and its high-value recyclability at the end of life. The End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) of today are on average around 14 years old at their end of life and contain approximately 4 to 6 % aluminium. For premium cars treated today, this the percentage of aluminium can go up to 10%. In the future, the level of aluminium in ELVs is expected to grow; cars currently being produced have an aluminium content of 7 to 20%. In today’s modern plants, 95% of the aluminium in an End of Life Vehicle is successfully and profitably reused or recycled into new aluminium products substituting primary aluminium. The recycling of aluminium allows reducing the energy consumption by 95% compared to the production of primary aluminium, thus representing a clear environmental benefit.

Our asks for the review of the End of Life Vehicle Directive (2000/53/EC)

1. Lightweighting and recycling should be seen as compatible goals. For example, using aluminium instead of standard steel makes the vehicle lighter and more fuel efficient while being just as easy to recycle. The ELV Directive should not promote the use of less or non-recyclable materials.       

2. Alignment of the ELV Directive with other European legislation should be in place, especially the alignment with the Waste Framework Directive and the definitions there included.

3. Recycling of aluminium is facilitated and improved by stimulating increased dismantling and increased post-shredding sorting.

4. More attention is paid to the design phase of the vehicles to facilitate their recycling and their dismantling.                            

5. Improvements aimed at identifying the ELVs of unknown whereabouts and reducing their numbers.