End-of-life vehicles (ELVs) have become a global concern. According to EU legislation, at least 85% of a vehicles weight should be recycled. Nevertheless, with the tools currently available, depolluting and recovering ELV components is still a time-consuming activity, especially for small and medium-sized dismantlers. Consequently, many ELVs go through a very superficial depolluting and recovery process before being sent to dismantling and shredding facilities, even in cases where considerable amounts of fluids and materials could still be recovered. The non-metal portion of ELVs accounts for approximately 30% by weight and is generally not recycled at small dismantling sites. Instead, the so-called auto shredder residue (ASR) left after recovery of the metal is typically landfilled.
The main objective of the LIFE De-BAY project was to lower the environmental impact of ELVs by developing more efficient recovery systems and techniques for small and medium-sized dismantlers. This technology would be validated and demonstrated within fully-equipped and integrated depollution islands at two pilot dismantling sites. The aim was to enable the recovery of larger amounts of vehicle materials and components (e.g. plastics, glass and filters) and up to 99% of all ELV fluids by weight, in a much faster and more efficient way thanis possible using current tools and systems. Thanks to LIFE De-BAY, dismantlers would be able to depollute ELVs in one-sixth of the time currently required, and in much safer conditions for operators. The projects objective is in line with EU waste legislation, in particular the ELV Directive and Directive 2005/64/EC on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their reusability, recyclability and recoverability. The project would also feed into the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe, as it helps in the recovery of resources.
The LIFE De-BAY project developed an integrated system the depollution or De-BAY island - for the treatment of End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs). The project team demonstrated the depollution islands better performance compared to existing technology, in terms of spent fuel recovery rates, treatment times, and efficient and safe operation, in two pilot dismantling sites, Palermo and Terrasa, in Italy and Spain, respectively. Moreover, the project developed a linked monitoring tool (hardware and software) for the automated and precise measurement of the recovered quantities of the different spent fuels.
To achieve its objectives, the project team:
The main environmental benefits demonstrated by the project were the increased/improved recovery of spent fuels and other fluids from ELVs, and the reduction of hazardous materials and not-recoverable wastes sent to landfills. On a yearly basis, for example: +50 000 l/year more petrol recovered, +12 000 l/year engine oil, +5 000 l/year brake fluids, and +1 700 kg/year air conditioning refrigerants. Besides, the new De-BAY island system significantly reduced operating time, from more than 60 min per vehicle to less than 20 min. This resulted in a reduced energy consumption of around 30%, comparing the new De-BAY island to existing technology, and also increased safety in dismantling areas of the workplace.
The project conducted a legislative review of the ELVs dismantling sector, with a focus on Italy and Brazil. This identified issues related to an in homogeneous set of local/regional/national laws and standards related to the ELV treatment procedures, on spent fuel treatment/recovery/disposal rules, and monitoring of recovered materials. The project advanced proposals for overcoming these issues, including the mandatory use of an approved data collection system for collected liquids, the unification of regulations at European level, and the adoption of a reward system for car owners to increase the delivery of ELVs to disposal centres. The main socio-economic benefits of the project are due to the reduced costs for dismantling ELVs, the significantly reduced operating time and the increase of the beneficiarys (Flexbimec) business that has led to over 9 new employees being taken.
Through its training programme, workshops and events, the project reached over 4 000 stakeholders, raising awareness about issues in the ELV sector. As a result of the project, a further 8-10 full time equivalent jobs are expected to be created in the 3 years following the project. Sales of about 80 new De-BAY islands are expected in the 5 years after project end. To exploit the modularity of the depollution island, the beneficiaries defined three possible pricing schemes that target different types of customers (small and large dismantling sites and companies entering the dismantling market) to widen marketing opportunities.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).