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Novelis to Build $365 Million Recycling Center for Automotive

Written by Tim Triplett

In another skirmish in the battle between steel and aluminum for a greater share of the automotive market, aluminum producer Novelis Inc. plans to invest $365 million to build a highly advanced recycling center adjacent to its new automotive finishing plant in Guthrie, Ky. Groundbreaking is scheduled for early 2022, with commissioning expected in 2024.

newsAluminum producers claim the high ground when it comes to helping carmakers take weight out of vehicles, improving fuel efficiency and reducing tailpipe emissions – or in the case of electric vehicles extending battery life – because aluminum is so much lighter than steel. But they give much of that ground back when their high energy consumption is factored into their carbon footprint.

Novelis’ new recycling center will use a closed-loop system to directly reclaim aluminum scrap left over from automotive stamping operations and remelt it for new vehicle parts. The center will also be equipped with advanced shredding and sorting technology to process aluminum from vehicles scrapped at the end of their lifecycle.

Using recycled aluminum as input material requires only 5% of the energy used to make primary aluminum, thus avoiding 95% of the carbon emissions associated with production, Novelis said. With an annual casting capacity of 240,000 tons of sheet ingot, the company expects the new center to reduce its carbon emissions by more than one million tons per year.

“Through this investment, we will continue to increase the amount of recycled content in our products, reducing our CO2 emissions and moving us closer to carbon neutrality,” said Novelis President and CEO Steve Fisher.

In pursuit of their own environmental goals, automakers are planning to unveil scores of new electric vehicles in the next few years, heating up the competition between aluminum and advanced high-strength steels as the material of choice. They’ll look most favorably on suppliers who are willing to take the “green” journey with them – as Novelis is well aware.

“We are excited about this new investment in Kentucky, which will help Novelis achieve its sustainability goals, as well as support the carbon-reduction targets of our automotive customers,” said Tom Boney, Executive Vice President and President of Novelis North America.

By Tim Triplett,

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