This year’s International Automobile Recycling Congress (IARC) ended on a successful note with a mixture of satisfied participants, interesting presentations and lively discussions
by Roberto Guccione
During the two-day event in Vienna (March, 20-22, 2019), some 220 experts from 24 countries came together to discuss the latest trends in the world of automobile recycling, making the IARC the only trade congress worldwide exclusively dedicated to this subject.
Quite a number of topics were up for discussion this year, as no other industrial sector is currently undergoing as many radical changes as the automotive industry. The pressure to cut carbon emissions is driving the development of lightweight design and electric mobility, but posing major challenges for the recycling industry, particularly when it comes to finding ways to recycle new types of composite materials. However, opportunities are also emerging from this development, as the overarching aim of reducing carbon emissions is also increasingly shining a spotlight on the recycling industry.
In his keynote speech on “Mobility’s Circular Economy Potential”, Patrick Schaufuss from McKinsey & Company, Inc. emphasised just how great the recycling industry’s potential is. His speech also provided the basis for the subsequent panel discussion titled “Opportunities of the Circular Economy”. The McKinsey consultant appealed to the automotive industry and other players to give greater consideration to designs that are suitable for the circular economy right from the outset. Fittingly, Jean-Denis Curt presented the Renault automotive group’s circular ecosystem and the closed recycling loops it has introduced. Niklas Kilberg from the Volvo Car Corporation spoke about the measures the Swedish car company has taken to promote sustainability and also presented Volvo’s strategy for handling plastics.
Further lectures were held on the key topic of electric mobility and the challenges it poses. For example, Dirk Spiers from the US company Spiers New Technologies presented the “Life Cycle Management of xEV Batteries in Practice”. Charles Stuyck also held a talk on the importance of recycling to support the growth of EVs. In the same vein, Johann Prammer (voestalpine AG) presented technology trends for processes and materials in the steel industry between now and 2050.
The new EU End-of-Life Vehicles Directive
Another topic of focus at this year’s IARC was the latest technological developments in sorting and classifying scrap metal. Lorenzo Bacchetti from the Italian company Danieli Centro Cranes introduced the automatic scrap yard, where scrap is classified with the help of artificial intelligence. The technical lectures were accompanied by country reports from Argentina, Germany and India, which pointed out the challenges that individual countries are facing in the field of automobile recycling. Finally, Artemis Hatzi-Hull from the European Commission presented the current state of the planned revision of the EU End-of-Life Vehicles Directive.
Furthermore, on the third day, plant tours were on offer to visit the companies Scholz Austria Group in Laxenburg and voestalpine Stahlwelt in Linz. Next year, the congress will be held in Geneva to coincide with the Geneva International Motor Show. The event will take place from March 11 to 13, 2020.