As we know already, a car contains a lot of plastics. The dashboard, the door cards; in fact, most of the panels in the cabin are all made of plastics. Audi and Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) are working on a solution to recycle such automotive plastics once they’re worn out. Under a pilot project called Chemical Recycling of Plastics in Automotive Engineering, the plastics are processed into pyrolysis oil, which can subsequently be used to create new components.
Audi initially intends to do a technical feasibility study to evaluate the economic and environmental impacts of this method. These evaluations are performed at KIT by teams led by Professor Dieter Stapf (Ph.D.) at the Institute for Technical Chemistry (ITC) and Dr. Rebekka Volk at the Institute for Industrial Production (IIP). Audi will provide plastic components that are no longer needed, such as fuel tanks, wheel trim parts and radiator grilles from Audi models returning from the German dealership network.
The company is planning to gradually increase the proportion of secondary materials such as PET in its models. The new A3 for example offers three seat upholsteries that contain up to 89% recycled content.