Demonstration of a Post-Shredding Technology (PST) for the recovery of raw materials from Automotive Shredder Residues

Reference: LIFE17 ENV/ES/000168 | Acronym: LIFE PST-SORT



Some 40 million end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are being treated worldwide each year, representing around 42 million tons of waste per year, of which approximately 22 to 25% corresponds to after-shredding residues (ASR, also known as “automotive shredder residue” or “car fluff”). ASR is a highly heterogeneous mixture of metals, plastics, glass, rubber, textile, foams, wood, fines, etc. In Europe, after the de-pollution and dismantling of end-of-life vehicles, 6 million vehicles are shredded per year, and close to 1.5 million tonnes per year of shredding rejects (ASR) are sent to landfill or incineration. The ELV 2000/53/EC Directive sets out quantified targets (ELV 2015 targets) for reuse & recycling of 85%, and reuse & recovery of 95% of ELVs. 


The LIFE PST SORT project consists of the development and demonstration of an innovative post-shredding solution aiming to recover high resource-value materials from Automotive Shredder Residues (ASR) of end-of-life vehicles (ELV), which are mostly landfilled or incinerated

The LIFE PST SORT project has been developed from the end of 2018 to the end of 2021, including the design, construction and operation of a demonstration plant located in Calaf, Barcelona (Spain). The demo plant reaches an industrial throughput of up to 8 t/h, is fully automated and uses machine vision and artificial intelligence for the detection and sorting of materials that have a recycling or energy recovery value. The demonstration plant covers an area of 1,000 m2, 10 metres high, comprising different types of sorting: mechanical (screening, densimetric separation), induction and machine vision (including Deep Learning). Recovery rates may reach 84% (ferrous & non-ferrous metals, glass, PCB, rubber, PU foam), including 66% of recyclables and 18% refuse-derived fuel (RDF) for energy production. The demo plant is thus used for material recovery tests on an industrial scale

The LIFE PST SORT solution aimed to increase the recycling rate of the overall ASR stream and contribute to the EU’s Circular Economy Strategy, to the implementation of the ELV Directive, as well as to the automotive industry sustainability. Waste management and vehicle shredding companies, recyclers, as well as companies managing and treating a wide range of other waste (WEEE, industrial waste) could bring waste to the demo plant to verify the sorting performance of this solution. Based on the recovery values obtained, stakeholders could evaluate business plans on an industrial scale.


The LIFE PST SORT project’s pilot plant reached an average throughput of 7.2 t/hour (14 447 t/year). The PST SORT solution reached an average waste throughput of ASR with 84.5% recovery for recycling and energy recovery purposes. The plant capacity corresponds to 16 000 t/year, considering 1 work shift per day, of 8 hours per shift, over 250 days per year. The ability to replicate and transfer the technology and results of the LIFE PST SORT solution has been evidenced with the demonstration plant. Different ASR streams (light and heavy fluffs) have been tested as part of the Replication activities, as well as other waste streams (such as WEEE, industrial waste, incineration bottom ashes and rejects of mechanical and biological treatment plants of solid wastes) as part of the Transferability activities.

The main benefits that the LIFE PST SORT solution brought to the user or plant owner was, on the one hand, the sale of waste that has been recovered as valuable materials, whether they are recyclable or an RDF stream, and, on the other hand, the gate-fee and taxation savings derived from the recovery of materials that are not sent to landfill or incineration

Recovered waste as secondary raw materials and refuse-derived fuel RDF (traded in Europe) including a gate-fee earning / economy may result on an average revenue of 77.4 €/t expressed in terms of tons of feedstock (conservative values ranging from 57.4 €/t to 97.5 €/t). Capital cost (CAPEX) for the baseline solution corresponds to 1.37 M€. The addition of investment annuities and Opex results on an annual cost average of 62.8 €/t (in terms of tons of feedstock), varying from 55.6 €/t to 69.9 €/t. Operating costs (OPEX) include maintenance staff, electricity consumption, mobile equipment costs, maintenance of process equipment, costs of rejects, overheads. By this way, the payback period may vary from 1.5 to 6 years.

The project team processed 526 t of different automobile waste types (ASR, incineration bottom ash, waste electrical and electronic equipment - WEEE, municipal solid waste, industrial wastes, and glass waste), thus demonstrating the capacity of the technology to be transferred to other types of waste. The project sorted 49.7% for being recycled and 34.9% for RDF.

The project was implemented with a real-world business perspective with the active involvement of relevant stakeholders, including the potential clients for the technology. So much so, that the beneficiary had already sold an industrial plant based on the project technology at the project end.

The technology can be hosted in an existing recycling plant or in a new facility, generating two jobs per working shift. The main environmental impact of the LIFE PST SORT solution concerns the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The total reduction of the global warming indicator with the new sorting technology is 3.4 tonnes CO2-eq per tonne of ASR treated, compared to the landfill impacts of the entire ASR stream, and 4.4 tonnes CO2-eq per tonne of ASR treated, compared to the incineration impacts of the entire ASR stream. The LIFE PST SORT solution provides positive impact for the EU's sustainable growth strategy, facilitating the overall sustainability objectives of the industrial activity and job creation in Europe.



Reference: LIFE17 ENV/ES/000168
Start Date: 01/09/2018
End Date: 31/10/2021
Total Budget: 1,529,233 €
EU Contribution: 749,149 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: CALAF TECNIQUES INDUSTRIALS, S.L.U
Legal Status: PCO
Address: Carretera de Manresa 50-60, 08280, Calaf (Barcelona), España
Contact Person: Daniel CARRERO
Tel: 34934701372



  • End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV's) and tyres


  • use of waste as energy source
  • industrial waste
  • raw material consumption
  • automobile industry
  • alternative technology
  • resource conservation


  • Directive 2000/53 - End-of life vehicles (18.09.2000)
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.2008)
  • Directive (EU) 2018/851 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (30.05.2018)
  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)


Name Type
None Participant