RecAl: AIT-LKR Launches New Horizon Europe Project in Vienna

Vienna, 13th February 2024 – RecAl, a ground-breaking project dedicated to revolutionising aluminium recycling in Europe, officially launched this month in Vienna. This data-driven initiative has secured significant backing with European Union funding of €10.6 million from the Horizon Europe program and brings together 19 partners from 9 European countries, coordinated by AIT-LKR.

The project develops advanced recycling and digital technologies for a circular aluminium economy, enabled by the proposed RecAl Hub, a digital cockpit tracking Al-reyclates across the continent, connecting suppliers with buyers. In this way, RecAl will address critical challenges in the industry to usher in a new era of sustainable production – and reuse – for the metal.

A Circular Future for European Aluminium

Recycling aluminium from existing End-of-Life (EoL) and production scraps holds immense promise, utilising a mere 5% of the energy required for primary material production. Recognising its pivotal role in global decarbonization, particularly in alignment with the European Green Deal, the RecAl project aims to maximise the potential of this environmentally friendly resource.

One of the key challenges faced when recycling aluminium stems from the metal being alloyed with a variety of other elements. This makes separation virtually impossible. The current practice of mixing different EoL alloys results in downcycling, a short-term solution leading to inevitable material decline. Europe holds rich potential for secondary aluminium resources, currently projected to contribute 49% of total aluminium production by 2050. This potential resource landscape, however, needs a hub.

RecAl’s Impact

The RecAl project (short for Recycling technologies for circular Aluminium), takes a comprehensive approach to harnessing this valuable secondary resource. It strategically addresses every stage of circular production and tackles challenges across the entire value chain.

  • Increasing impurity tolerance in alloy design without compromising performance.
  • Exploiting the benefits of digitalization and robotic assistance in sorting and dismantling.
  • Creating recyclate streams with vastly enhanced purities.
  • Adapting production paradigms to unlock the full potential of secondary resources.
  • Harmonising communication between all sectors of the aluminium

With a commitment to innovation, RecAl will advance 14 key technological solutions up to Technology Readiness Level 6 (TRL6) and integrate them into a digital, socio-technical ecosystem known as the aluminium hub for circularity. This interactive platform will foster direct collaboration among stakeholders along the value chain, promoting full-scale industrial and technological symbiosis while closing energy, resource, and data loops at both regional and European scales.

RecAl is poised to make significant strides in sustainable aluminium production, contributing to the circular economy and reinforcing Europe’s position as a leader in resource-efficient technologies.

Project Consortium and Coordinator

RecAl is being led and coordinated by the Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen (LKR), a 100% subsidiary of the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT). It is an applied research and technology development organisation focusing on key areas such as energy, health and bioresources, digital safety and security, mobility, and technology experience. AIT collaborates with industry, academia, and public institutions to address technological challenges and drive innovation. Additionally, CANCOM Austria AG (formerly K-Businesscom) will play a central role in creating the project’s key output: the digital hub for aluminium recycling. Development and validation of the RecAl hub will bring together many new technologies into a purpose-built digital platform. CANCOM is Austria’s leading IT & digitalization service provider, boasting 130 years’ experience.

“Unlocking the immense potential of secondary aluminium resources in Europe, RecAl aims to revolutionise recycling methods, addressing the challenge of alloyed metals and promoting sustainable practices”, explains project coordinator, Gerald Prantl at AIT-LKR.

The RecAl Consortium comprises 19 partners, with expertise in multiple sectors, including engineering, innovation, metals, and IT expertise specific to the project’s key outputs. Additional expertise is present in the management and communication of Horizon Europe projects (executed by consultancy, RTDS Group who co-led development of the RecAl proposal), along with business planning and IP management.

Project Partners

AIT-LKR / Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen 🇦🇹
RTDS Association  🇦🇹
Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions (AELS) 🇳🇱
Aloumyl, Biomichania Alouminioy Anonimi Etaireia 🇬🇷
Benteler Automobiltechnik 🇩🇪
Barna Steel 🇪🇸
Ethniko Kentro Erevnas kai Technologikis Anaptixis 🇬🇷
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt 🇩🇪
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung 🇩🇪
Gebauer & Griller Kabelwerke 🇦🇹
CANCOM Austria AG 🇦🇹
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven 🇧🇪
Acondicionamiento Tarrasense Associacion 🇪🇸
Stena Aluminium 🇸🇪
Swerim 🇸🇪
Universita degli Studi di Firenze 🇮🇹
Universita degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia 🇮🇹
Asociacion Centro Tecnologico CEIT 🇪🇸
Altek Europe 🇬🇧

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