Closed-loop polypropylene, an opportunity for the automotive sector

By Toni Gallone, Industrial Development Renault Environment,
and Agathe Zeni-Guido, INSA Lyon Engineer, ISIGE Masters Fontainebleau

Every year, more than one million tons is used by European manufacturers alone. Second most commonlyused material in vehicles after metal, plastic is making up an increasing percentage of the composition of cars and is able to fulfil new technical functions thanks to high mechanical performance grades. However, recycling plastic is complex and the methods used (shredding, crushing, separation) are insuffi ciently selective, leading to substantial loss. The regeneration of automotive plastics, and polypropylene in particular, has enormous potential as a new supply source for the car industry that also ensures the regulatory requirements for End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) recovery are met.

In light of this, the Renault Group has launched a study looking to increase the yield and value of transforming polypropylene (PP) materials, in the framework of its proactive approach towards incorporating recycled materials in its vehicles. The study has highlighted several crucial points for introducing an optimised processing and separation line for recovering plastics. Optimising the processing and separation framework helps boost the competitiveness of these recycled materials. Increased PP recovery yields thus lead to higher profi tability, a stronger recycling value chain and a doorway to the development of new technical grades.