Under the skin: Why glass half recycled is glass half full


Recycling as substantially of a motor vehicle as doable when it, or parts of it, attain the conclude of lifestyle has been a precedence for yrs now, but a incredibly uncomfortable content to recycle is a car’s windscreen.

A new, one-yr pilot job in between Audi and a amount of associates from the glass producing business is envisioned to adjust that, but the endeavor isn’t really as very simple as it sounds.

The key component of glass is silica sand, melted down with a number of other additives. Until eventually now, recycled automotive windscreen glass has only been fit for generating bottles and not been of high more than enough high-quality to satisfy the basic safety needs desired for automobile windscreens. A windscreen is laminated, a sandwich with glass having the spot of bread and polymer the filling, which is typically polyvinyl butyral (PVB).

After the two pieces of glass have been slash and reheated on a mould to produce the shape, the 3 parts are pressed jointly and heated in an autoclave (a massive stress cooker), bonding them with each other. A monitor may well also incorporate wonderful wire heating features or an aerial and be outfitted with a rain sensor and interior mirror mount. All of these things, additionally the PVB, is what would make it so tricky to recycle it into pure-adequate glass to reuse it as windscreen materials.

So how is the venture aiming to defeat the dilemma? Immediately after the cracked and damaged screens have been collected at dealerships, a person of the project partners, Reiling Glas Recycling, crushes the damaged screens and makes use of magnets, non-ferrous steel separators, extraction models and electro-optical sorting models to remove all the scrap. After that, the glass granules go off to Saint-Gobain Glass, where it is separated by colour.

To make new plate glass, the granules, which by then are as pure as doable, are blended with quartz sand, sodium carbonate and chalk (posh name: calcium carbonate). Of that, concerning 30% and 50% of the mixture consists of the recycled glass, but the project staff hopes to improve on that as time goes on.

The raw product is processed into huge rectangles of plate glass measuring 3m by 6m in advance of likely to an associate firm, Saint-Gobain Sekurit, which turns it into automotive-quality glass. Recycling laminated basic safety glass in this way is reported to produce 30% fewer CO2 than beginning from scratch.

If the venture is prosperous and the go-in advance is specified to go into complete manufacturing, Saint-Gobain Glass is scheduling to procedure up to 30,000 tonnes of the crushed glass shards into substantial-top quality automotive glass a yr, some of which will be utilised in the Audi Q4 E-tron.

With that sum of materials becoming recycled, the glass maker suggests it will preserve normal assets, which includes drinking water, and the strength price savings will equate to a day by day reduction in CO2 emissions of 75 tonnes.


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