Like other automotive aluminum suppliers, Novelis Inc. is forecasting booming demand to support the wave of electric vehicles coming in this decade. But to deliver enough new North American aluminum capacity, the industry will also need to create more recycling capacity to convert old aluminum into fresh supply.
That's the equation behind Novelis' recently announced project to invest $365 million in an advanced aluminum recycling center in Guthrie, Ky., about 50 miles north of Nashville. When the plant comes on line in 2024, it will have the capacity to generate 240 kilotons of new sheet ingot from recycled metal.
The challenge for Novelis, says Tom Boney, president of Novelis North America, is to raise the art of recycling to 2020s standards through innovative metal handling, separation processes and even new sourcing plans. The last time Novelis built a U.S. recycling center on an undeveloped site was nearly 40 years ago.
The company is not revealing specifics of its new processes, but Boney told Automotive News that part of the innovation will be in the plant's shredding technology. A wide spectrum of materials will be able to pass through a single point to be shredded by a common system.