DuPont Recycles For Autos

Dec. 21, 2004

By the end of 2005, automakers selling in Europe must produce cars that are 85% recyclable, an increase from 75% now required by the End of Life Vehicles directive from the European Union. Diversified manufacturer DuPont, with $27.9 billion in revenues in 2003, is developing processes in its automotive division that could help OEMs and automakers meet this higher directive. DuPont Composite Recycle Technology, for instance, uses a filtering process to recycle nylon. The technology dissolves used polyamide then filters away contaminants and fillers. The molecular weight of the recovered polyamide is increased to whatever level is needed for the next application. According to DuPont, the process generates resin that is "essentially equivalent" to virgin nylon. Working with parts maker Denso Corp., Kariya, Japan, DuPont demonstrated that nylon from used radiator tanks was processed and reused for new tanks. The nylon-recycling process, which is still under development and has not yet been commercialized, also was tested with Toyota in the recovery and production of manifolds. According to DuPont, the technology has the potential for large-scale production at an acceptable price. The company also sees the program as an advance in recycling-oriented collaboration in supply chains. "The ability to reclaim large glass and mineral-filled nylon components such as radiator end tanks or potentially other components made of nylon can help automakers meet new regulations, but the benefit to society is that the landfill waste is reduced," says William Hsu, vice president and CTO of DuPont Performance Materials.

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